Last night on Jay Leno’s show, President Obama denied that the U.S. government engages in anything that constitutes “spying on Americans.”
“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” he said. ”What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat,” Obama explained in a wide-ranging interview. “That information is useful,” the president said, arguiing the capability could be important in a situation like the Boston Marathon bombings
The president did urge people be skeptical about “potential encroachments on privacy,” and conceded that such intelligence capabilities are “pretty significant powers.”
“If we can make sure that there’s confidence on the part of the American people that there’s oversight, then I think we can make sure that we’re properly balancing our liberty and our security,” Obama said.
Obama’s remarks elicited applause, but he did slip on a few other subjects Tuesday night, incorrectly stating that Russian president Vladimir Putin once headed up the KGB (he ended his career as a lieutenant colonel) and implying that the Atlantic port cities of Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston reside on the Gulf of Mexico.