Mr. Obama said he will be reviewing recommendations from a panel of experts that the government curtail its surveillance programs, and will make decisions in the coming weeks. He said Americans are "rightly concerned about the possibility of misuse" of the data that the National Security Agency is collecting.
He said the spy programs have to balance the country's need to protect itself against the need to protect Americans' civil liberties and privacy. NSA has collected a vast storehouse of data about Americans' phone calls - the numbers they have called, the time and length of the calls.
"We need this intelligence," Mr. Obama said. "We can't unilaterally 'disarm.'"
But he said the surveillance programs are "only going to work if the American people have trust" in them.