President Obama bristled Monday night at comparisons with the Bush administration in his first interview addressing the National Security Agency’s broad gathering of data about Americans’ phone calls and online communications.
“People say, 'Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he's, you know, Dick Cheney,’” the president told PBS’ Charlie Rose, referring to the former vice president.
Mr. Obama distinguished the programs his administration ran from those launched by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, which were carried out under the president’s wartime authority as commander in chief.
“You've got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you've got Congress overseeing the program,” Mr. Obama said in an attempt to to draw a distinction.
He said “not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee - but all of Congress had available to it” classified briefings explaining the program.
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