News / USA

Obama Discusses Surveillance Transparency Steps, Putin, al-Qaida

President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Aug. 9, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Aug. 9, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama Friday announced new steps aimed at helping to reassure Americans about government electronic surveillance programs used to protect against terrorism. President Obama also discussed relations with Russia, and threats from al-Qaida and affiliated groups.

Obama announced steps he says will increase transparency and restore public trust in U.S. government surveillance programs.

The issue has been the subject of intense national debate since former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden released details of electronic methods used in the counterterrorism fight.

Watch related video by VOA's Kent Klein:

Obama Calls for Surveillance Reformsi
X
August 10, 2013 1:54 AM
President Barack Obama is calling for reforms in U.S. domestic and foreign surveillance. The president spoke to reporters Friday about spying, relations with Russia, the terrorist threat and immigration reform. VOA White House Correspondent Kent Klein reports.

Obama said he will work with Congress to pursue "appropriate reforms," including greater oversight and transparency, to a program that collects telephone records, which he again called an important tool to disrupt terrorist plots.

He also called for steps to give Americans more confidence in decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, including measures to ensure that privacy and civil liberties concerns are taken into account.

As Obama spoke, the Department of Justice and National Security Agency released documents fulfilling a third step, containing additional information about surveillance programs.  

The president also directed creation of a group of experts to review intelligence and communications technologies, against the backdrop of challenges in preventing new terrorist attacks.

"All these steps designed to ensure that the American people can trust that our efforts are in line with our interests and our values.  And to others around the world, I want to make clear once again, that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people.  Our intelligence is focused above all on finding the information that is necessary to protect our people and in many cases to protect our allies," said President Obama.

Obama also fielded questions about his decision to cancel a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in part because of tensions over Moscow's decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden.

Saying he does not have a "bad personal relationship" with Putin, Obama cited cooperation with Russia on issues such as Afghanistan, Iran, and nuclear arms reduction.

The president called the latest tensions part of emerging differences, including issues such as Syria and human rights.

"It is probably appropriate for us to take a pause, re-assess where it is that Russia is going, what our core interests are, and calibrate the relationship so that we are doing things that are good for the United States, and hopefully good for Russia as well, but recognizing that there are just going to be some differences and we are not going to be able to completely disguise them," said Obama.

Obama noted that he will still be attending the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg.  He ruled out suggestions of a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to protest anti-gay legislation in Russia.

"One of the things I am really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold, or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes we are seeing there, and if Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes then it would probably make their team weaker," he said.

On the terror threat that forced the temporary closure of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies, Obama was asked if he can still state that al-Qaida's core has been decimated.

The president said the main al-Qaida group that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 has been "broken apart and is very weak," but that regional groups continue to pose a threat.

"This is an ongoing process.  We are not going to completely eliminate terrorism.  What we can do is weaken it, and strengthen our partnerships in such a way that it does not pose the kind of horrible threat we saw on 9/11," he said.

Obama declined to discuss drone strikes in Yemen, which have dramatically increased in recent weeks.  He referred reporters to information the administration has released about how it makes decisions on the use of lethal force.

The president was also asked about the failure so far to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, in an attack in Benghazi last year.

He said capturing those responsible remains a top priority.

"Anybody who attacks Americans, anybody who kills, tragically, four Americans who were serving us in a very dangerous place, we're going to do everything we can to get those who carried out those attacks," said President Obama.

Obama also defended his administration's implementation of health care reform.  

Asked about Republican threats to shut down the federal government over funding for health care reform,  Obama said he is confident that common sense will prevail.

"That we would precipitate another crisis here in Washington that no economist thinks is a good idea, I am assuming they will not take that path," he said.

Obama and his family depart Saturday for an eight-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard, in the northeastern state of Massachusetts.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ALI BABA from: new york
August 09, 2013 5:01 PM
terrorism incidents is getting worst during Obama administration than George w Bush. the restriction of FBI And CiA has negative impact on counter terrorism. besides the generous support of radical country such as Pakistan and afghisstan. Obama does not understand that terrorist country and terrorist group are connected . it is a failure policy .the more money is giving to Pakistan, Afghanistan ,the more terrorist activity. the more ignore Saudi Arabia and gulf countries role to support terrorism ,the more problem we face .it is time to change the policy. Give cia and fbi the authority to use any means necessary to fight terrorism .stop playing soft ball with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi

In Response

by: pilisugsug from: USA
August 09, 2013 9:33 PM
I have never witness a more incompetent president since Jimmy Carter. This guy has been a zer0 for backbone. Obama's administration; Benghazi fiasco, IRS scandal, security leaks and debt crisis, etc. This is a fiasco. Obama recruits Hollywood stars to endorse his policies Jay Leno included. Do you get the picture?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid