President Obama strongly defended National Security Agency surveillance programs on Friday morning but acknowledged that, if unchecked, they could easily be abused.
“There are legitimate concerns that people have that technology is moving so quick that, at some point, does the technology outpace the laws that are in place and the protections that are in place?” Mr. Obama told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “Do some of these [surveillance] systems end up being like a loaded gun out there that somebody at some future point could abuse?”
The president — sitting down with CNN while on a two-day bus tour through upstate New York and Pennsylvania — also conceded that the American people aren’t convinced by his assurances, or those of congressional leaders, that the federal government isn’t listening to citizens’ phone calls and reading emails.
Public skepticism has been fueled by recent disclosures that the NSA looked at as many as 56,000 emails and other electronic communications of Americans over a three-year period, despite them having no connection to terrorism.