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Obama: ‘the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people’

In an interview with CNN President Obama said while some Americans might find the NSA’s capabilities “scary”, the oversight mechanisms do work.


President Obama maintains the National Security Agency’s oversight mechanisms work, despite an audit leaked by Edward Snowden to the Washington Post which said there were 2,776 incidents of “unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications” that year.

Here’s what the Washington Post reported at the time:

“Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.”

Obama said he is confident the NSA is not “trying to abuse this program or listen in on people’s e-mail.”

“For all the work that’s been done to protect the American people’s privacy, the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people,” he said to CNN. “One of the challenges that we have is, even as we put in safeguards to make sure that the U.S. government doesn’t abuse — abuse these capabilities.”

A poll done in late July by PewResearch shows that American’s view of the program is split. Pew’s poll shows 50 percent of people approve of the program, while 44 percent disapprove. 6 percent list their opinion as don’t know. The poll also showed that only 30 percent of Americans believe the government provides adequate limits on what’s collected, while 56 percent say otherwise.

Source: CNN, Pew Research

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