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-- -- -- Online for me.
Got the you know when I came.
Into this office.
Two commitments that are more important than any commitment I make number one to keep the American people safe.
And number two.
To uphold the constitution.
And I includes.
What I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy.
And an observance of civil liberties.
The programs that have been discussed over the last couple days in the press.
Our secret in the sense that -- are classified.
They're not secret in the sense that.
-- when it comes to telephone calls every member of congress has been briefed on this program.
Would respect all these programs.
The relevant Intelligence Committees.
Are fully briefed on these programs.
These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majority -- Repeatedly since 2006.
And -- so I think at the outset it's important to understand that.
Duly elected represented us.
Have been consistently informed.
What we're doing.
Now let let me -- The two issues separately.
When it comes to telephone calls.
Nobody is listening to your -- -- That's not what this program's about.
As was indicated.
The intelligence community is doing.
And durations of colts they are not looking at people's names.
And they're not looking at content.
But by sifting through.
This so called metadata.
They may identify.
With -- respect to folks who might engage in terrorist.
If the intelligence community that actually wants to listen no phone call.
They've got to go back to a federal judge.
Just like they wouldn't a criminal investigation.
I want to be very clear some of hype that we've been hearing over the last day or so.
Nobody is listening to the content of people's phone calls.
This program by the way is fully -- not just by congress.
But by the -- -- court.
A court specially.
Put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch or government generally is not abusing them and that.
-- it's being carried out consistent way of the constitution.
And rule of law.
And so not only does that courts.
Gathering of data but I want to repeat if anybody in government wanted to go further than just that top line data and want it took for example wasn't it Jackie -- phone call.
That have to go back to.
A federal judge.
And and and indicate why in fact.
They were going further.
Further -- -- -- respect to the Internet.
This does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply.
To people living in the United States.
And again in this instance not only is congress fully apprised of it.
But what is also true is that the -- court has to authorized.
So in summary what you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by congress.
Have been repeatedly.
Authorized by congress.
Bipartisan majorities have approved on the congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted.
There are a whole range of safeguards involved.
And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.
We are also setting up we've also set up an audit process.
When I came into office to make sure there were.
After the fact make huge.
Have -- certain that all the safeguards are being properly observed.
Now having said all that.
You'll remember when I made that speech.
A couple weeks ago about.
The need for us to shift out of a perpetual war mindset.
I specifically said that one of the things that we're -- have to discuss and debate.
Is power always striking this balance.
Between the need to keep the American people safe.
And our concerns about privacy.
Because there are some tradeoffs involved.
I welcome this debate.
And I think it's healthy for our our democracy I think it's -- -- because probably five years ago six years ago.
We might not have been having this debate.
And I -- centrist figure there's some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who were now.
Worried about whom weren't very.
Worried about it.
When I was a Republican president I think that's good.
That were having this discussion.
But I think it's important for our great understand I think the American people understand.
That there are some tradeoffs involved.
With a helping skepticism bouts these programs.
My team evaluated them we scrubbed them early we actually expanded some of the oversight.
Increase some of the safeguards.
But my assessment.
And my team's assessment.
May help us.
Prevent terrorist attacks.
And the modest.
Privacy that are -- in getting phone numbers corporation.
Without a name attached and not looking at content.
You know net.
It was worth us don't -- some other folks may have a different assessment of that.
But I think it's important -- recognized that.
You can't have it.
A 100% security.
And also then have a 100%.
And zero inconvenience.
You know do we were we're gonna have to make some choices.
As a society and I can say is that and valuing these programs they make a difference.
Anticipate and prevent.
Possible terrorist activity.
And the fact that they're under very strict supervision by all three branches of government.
And that they do not involve.
Listening to people's phone calls.
Do not involve.
Reading the emails of US citizens or US residence.
Action by -- federal court.
That is entirely.
Consistent with what we would do for example -- a criminal investigation.
I think on balance we.
Know we have.
Established a process and a procedure.
That the American people should feel comfortable about but.
Again this these programs are subject to congressional oversight.
And congressional reauthorization and congressional debate.
And at their members of congress who feel differently.
They should speak up.
And were happy to have that effect of death.
Dynamo have -- will have a chance to.
Talk further during the course the next couple.
Thank you guys and thank.
I don't I don't welcome weeks.
There's a reason why -- programs are classified.
You I think I think that there is a suggestion that somehow.
Any classified program is.
A quote on quote secret program which means it's.
But the fact of matter is in our modern history.
The whole range of programs that have been classified because when it comes to for example fighting terror.
Our goal is to stop.
Folks from doing us harm and if every step but we're taking try to prevent.
A terrorist act.
On the front page of the newspapers or on television and presumably the people were trying to -- -- arm.
Are going to be able to.
That's why these things are classified.
That's also why we set up congressional oversight.
Is the folks you all vote for.
As your representatives in congress.
And -- being fully briefed on these programs.
And if in fact there wars.
There were abuse is taking place presumably.
Those members of congress could raise those issues very aggressive what.
There -- empowered to do so.
We also have federal judges.
We put in place or not subject to political pressure and they've got lifetime tenure as federal judges and there -- power to look over our shoulder.
At the executive branch to make sure that.
These programs are being abused so.
So we have -- system in which some information is classified.
And we have a system of checks and balances to make sure that is not abuse.
And if in fact.
This information ends up just being dumped out.
-- -- Without regard to risks to the program rest of the people involved.
In some cases.
-- on other -- risks to personnel and very dangerous situation.
It's very hard for -- Be as effective.
And in protecting the American people that that's not to suggest that.
You know you just say trust me.
We're doing the right thing we know who the bad guys are.
And the reason.
That's not how it works is because we've got congressional oversight and judicial oversight.
And -- people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust congress and don't trust.
To make sure there were abiding by the constitution due process and rule of law then we're gonna have some problems.
But my observation is is that the people who were involved in America's national security.
They take this work very -- They cherish our constitution.
The last thing maybe don't want is.
Taken programs like this.
Listen to somebody's phone calls.
And by the way -- respect to my concerns about privacy issues.
I will leave this office at some point sometime last the next three and a half years.
And after that I will be a private -- us.
And I suspect that.
You know -- off on a list of people who.
Might be targeted.
You know so that somebody could read -- emails.
Or or listener phone calls I -- pretty -- medalist.
Let's not -- if I don't have a personal interest in making sure my privacy is protected.
But I know that the people who were involved in these programs they operate like professionals.
And these things are very narrowly circumscribed.
They're very focused.
Act and in the abstract.
You can complain about big brother and how this is.
Program run amok.
But when you actually look at the details.
-- I think we've struck the right balance.
-- thank you very much --
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