This is at FDL - and I don't see it referenced here. Obama had a pretty long interview with Charlie Rose. The link to the interview is here:
FDL has the transcript
My quick take - what I don't think Obama gets is that the way in which these programs have been revealed has really damaged his credibility (with me anyway). There was no reason that Prism or 702 could not have been disclosed. The fact that these programs were not publicly disclosed prevented any debate from taking place.
More quotes and some rough reaction. I should add as a lawyer and a former Prosecutor I know that the legality of these programs may turn on highly technical questions of law and fact. I haven't looked into them deeply, though like any former Prosecutor I do have a pretty good understanding of the Fourth Amendment.
What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls, and the NSA cannot target your emails … and have not. They cannot and have not, by law and by rule, and unless they — and usually it wouldn’t be “they,” it’d be the FBI — go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause, the same way it’s always been, the same way when we were growing up and we were watching movies, you want to go set up a wiretap, you got to go to a judge, show probable causeME: soounds good, though this answer conflicts with Nadler's exchange with the head of the FBI - though that exchange itself is open it multiple interpretations.
Program number one, called the 2015 Program, what that does is it gets data from the service providers like a Verizon in bulk, and basically you have call pairs. You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number. There are no names. There is no content in that database. All it is, is the number pairs, when those calls took place, how long they took place. So that database is sitting there. Now, if the NSA through some other sources, maybe through the FBI, maybe through a tip that went to the CIA, maybe through the NYPD. Get a number that where there’s a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to Al-Qaeda and some other international terrorist actors. Then, what the NSA can do is it can query that database to see did any of the — did this number pop up? Did they make any other calls? And if they did, those calls will be spit out. A report will be produced. It will be turned over to the FBI. At no point is any content revealed because there’s no content that —Problem : It is very easy using public information to tie a phone number to a name. In this answer I see nothing about the ability to take extracts of information from the database, and mine the data outside of the dataset. As is the case with all databases, the permissions and access controls are really important to understand. What is law around these permissions? Have they been violated.
You could have a hearing and ask those questions without damaging the underlying program.
But has FISA court turned down any request?But it ISN"T TRANSPARENT TO THE PUBLIC WHO HAS NO IDEA ABOUT THESE PROGRAMS. This is the fundamental mistake Obama is making here. So now we know about these programs and the question really turns on how good the oversight is. The suspicion is that the FISA Court is a rubber stamp, and that is why Rose's question here was great.
Barack Obama: The — because — the — first of all, Charlie, the number of requests are surprisingly small… number one. Number two, folks don’t go with a query unless they’ve got a pretty good suspicion.
Charlie Rose: Should this be transparent in some way?
Barack Obama: It is transparent.
There is a second program called the 702 program. And what that does is that does not apply to any U.S. person. Has to be a foreign entity. It can only be narrowly related to counter-terrorism, weapons proliferation, cyber hacking or attacks, and a select number of identifiers — phone numbers, emails, et cetera. Those — and the process has all been approved by the courts — you can send to providers — the Yahoos or the Googles, what have you. And in the same way that you present essentially a warrant. And what will happen then is that you there can obtain content. But again, that does not apply to U.S. persons. And it’s only in these very narrow bands. So, you asked, what should we do? …What I’ve said is — is that what is a legitimate concern — a legitimate critique — is that because these are classified programs — even though we have all these systems of checks and balances, Congress is overseeing it, federal courts are overseeing it — despite all that, the public may not fully know. And that can make the public kind of nervous, right? Because they say, “Well, Obama says it’s okay — or Congress says it’s okay. I don’t know who this judge is. I’m nervous about it.” What I’ve asked the intelligence community to do is see how much of this we can declassify without further compromising the program, number one. And they are in that process of doing so now so that everything that I’m describing to you today, people, the public, newspapers, etc., can look at because frankly, if people are making judgments just based on these slides that have been leaked, they’re not getting the complete story.ME: What he defines as the narrow area of operation of the 702 program sounds to me pretty broad depending on how you define the word "hacking".
9:57 AM PT: Toward the interview Obama says he is glad there is a debate over the issue.
But the only reason there is a debate is because Snowden disclosed the programs!!