News / USA

White House Declines Comment on NSA Whistleblower

View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.
x
View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.
View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.
The White House has declined to comment on the revelation of the identity of former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who leaked information about top secret U.S. government surveillance programs.
 
On Sunday, Snowden, a 29-year-old technician who worked for the CIA and later as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), outed himself in interviews with The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post.
 
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
x
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Snowden said he disclosed secret documents to protect "basic liberties for people around the world." In a video interview with The Guardian, he acknowledged he could face prosecution, but he said he felt compelled to take the actions he did.
 
"Over time, that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up and you feel compelled to talk about it, and the more you talk about it the more you are ignored, the more you are told it's not a problem, until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public, not by somebody who was simply hired by the government," he said.
 
The revelations were about "PRISM," an NSA program that gathers huge amounts of metadata from Internet companies, although intelligence officials say it does not target American citizens.
 
Another program collects data about phone calls. President Obama has said this does not mean authorities listen to Americans' phone conversations, which would require further approval by a special intelligence court.
 
Press Secretary Jay Carney declined Monday to comment specifically about Snowden, noting that the Department of Justice is investigating the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
 
"The programs we have discussed because of the leaks that have happened lately, while legitimate subject of debate and discussion, we talk about the balance necessary," said Carney. "All involve court approval; they involve congressional review and oversight."
 
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the intelligence community is reviewing "damage from recent disclosures," adding that "any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law."
 
There is now intense new debate across the United States about tradeoffs between security and privacy, and what many Americans consider unconstitutional government intrusions.
 
Last week, President Obama said Americans cannot expect 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy. He said the programs are under strict supervision, and that leaks increase vulnerability to terrorist attacks.
 
"Our goal is to stop folks from doing us harm, and if every step that we are taking to try to prevent a terrorist act is on the front page of the newspapers or on television, then presumably the people who are trying to do us harm are going to be able to get around our preventive measures," he said.
 
A recent Rasmussen poll found that 68 percent of Americans believe the government is listening to their telephone conversations, with 59 percent of likely voters opposing the practice of collecting phone data.
 
Since Snowden revealed his identity as the source of the leak, a petition supporting him and calling him a "national hero" and asking President Obama to pardon him was posted on a petition forum on the White House website.
 
Jay Carney declined any specific comment on the petition other than to note that guidelines require petitions to have at least 100,000 signatures before the White House issues a response.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: DORAI RAJ L from: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
June 10, 2013 10:06 PM
Obama has already expressed his opinion that there is no chance for 100 % privacy anywhere on globe. Yes. It is correct. Nobody can completely escape from being watched by others. And at least for some positive causes, one should be ready to expose of all. This is the only solution to protect the citizens from threats.

by: Mike from: Sweden
June 10, 2013 6:01 PM
---in an interview with a Swedish news paper.

"He [Snowden] is weighing in heavier than Watergate"
"The revelation about the American surveillance programmes is, according to the political science professor Lennart Lundquist, both brave and well thought through. It is enormously important, and much larger than anything previously seen along these lines, he continued"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs