President Barack Obama vigorously defended the government's newly disclosed collection of massive amounts of information from phone and internet records on Friday as a necessary defense against terrorism, and assured Americans, "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls."
"We have to make choices as a society," Obama said in his first remarks about revelations of the huge scope of government surveillance. "It's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience."
It was revealed late Wednesday that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of hundreds of millions of U.S. phone customers.
Former state Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, worked for the NSA for two years as a Russian language specialist during her time in the Air Force.
She worked in the area of intelligence communications.
Obama, responding to questions at a health care event in San Jose, Calif., said safeguards are in place.
"They help us prevent terrorist attacks," Obama said of the surveillance programs. He said he has concluded that prevention is worth the "modest encroachments on privacy."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.