- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Former Florida Gov. and likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Tuesday “the best part” of the Obama administration is its continuance of the National Security Agency’s controversial spying program.

“I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using, you know, the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” Mr. Bush, 62, said on the Michael Medved radio show, CNN reported.

“Even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation I think of our national government is to keep us safe,” he said.

The program was authorized under the Patriot Act, signed into law by former President George W. Bush. Mr. Obama made some changes this year to how the agency collects and holds data, but the program remains largely intact nearly two years after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information about the agency, CNN reported.

Critics of the program have argued that its spying programs are unconstitutional and a violation of privacy, while its defenders say that it’s a critical tool in uncovering and combating terrorism.

Mr. Bush insisted the program has enough civil liberties protections, CNN reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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