WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday sought to take control of the roiling debate over the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices, releasing a more detailed legal justification for domestic spying and calling for more openness and scrutiny of the N.S.A.’s programs to reassure a skeptical public that its privacy is not being violated."
....But at a time when leaks by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden have exposed the agency’s expansive spying both inside the United States and abroad to an unprecedented degree of scrutiny, Mr. Obama showed no inclination to curtail secret surveillance efforts. Rather, he conceded only a need for greater openness and safeguards to make the public “comfortable” with them."
...Critics of the electronic spying brought to light by Mr. Snowden’s leaks said the president’s approach was insufficient. Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that a program that collects records of every domestic phone call — which Mr. Obama made clear he intends to keep — must be shut down.
“What’s clear is that these surveillance programs have gone much further than the president or Congress have ever admitted,” Mr. Romero said. “These initial recommendations from Obama today, albeit welcome, are too little too late. They are not sufficient to address serious co"
A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, urged Mr. Obama not to let such criticism undermine the N.S.A.’s fundamental capabilities.
...The news conference also dwelled on Mr. Snowden’s obtaining temporary refugee status in Russia, and the cooling relationship with the Putin government over that and several other issues, including the conflict in Syria and Russia’s crackdown on gay rights. Earlier in the week, Mr. Obama canceled a planned summit meeting with Mr. Putin in Moscow.
While Mr. Obama said he opposed calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, he acknowledged “emerging differences” with his Russian counterpart.
Asked whether the steps on surveillance he was taking amounted to a vindication of Mr. Snowden’s leaks, Mr. Obama rejected that notion. He said that Mr. Snowden should have gone to the Congressional intelligence committees with any concerns he had about surveillance, rather than “putting at risk our national security and some very vital ways that we are able to get intelligence that we need to secure the country."“I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot,” Mr. Obama said."
Via Aulde de B