In a TV interview airing Monday night, Mr. Obama defended his administration’s surveillance programs as carefully supervised and rejected accusations that he has swung too far toward invasion of privacy.
“Some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.’ Dick Cheney sometimes says, ‘Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel,’ ” the president told interviewer Charlie Rose.
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“My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?”
But the president acknowledged that Americans didn’t know the extent of the surveillance.
“The public may not fully know. And that can make the public kind of nervous, right?” he said.