The Washington Times Inside Politics Blog

Obama takes shots at Russia, China in NSA speech

← return to Inside Politics

In announcing changes to U.S. surveillance and data-collection efforts, President Obama on Friday also took some pointed shots at Russia and China, saying a public debate over government spying never would take place in those countries.

“No one expects China to have an open debate about their surveillance programs, or Russia to take the privacy concerns of citizens into account,” he said during an address at the Justice Department. “But let us remember that we are held to a different standard precisely because we have been at the forefront in defending personal privacy and human dignity … Having faced down the totalitarian dangers of fascism and communism, the world expects us to stand up for the principle that every person has the right to think and write and form relationships freely — because individual freedom if a wellspring of human progress.”

After a lengthy review — spurred by leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden — Mr. Obama announced significant changes to U.S. surveillance protocol.

Most notably, he said the NSA now will need a court order before it can query the metadata pool containing phone records of millions of Americans.

Moving forward, the president said that data should be held elsewhere, outside government control. He directed Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials to review options and report back within two months.

← return to Inside Politics

About the Author
Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at

Latest Stories

Latest Blog Entries

blog comments powered by Disqus
Happening Now