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David Gergen: Obama Administration 'Went Way Over The Line' With Journalists (VIDEO)

06/27/2013 12:23 pm ET

David Gergen weighed in on the debate about the NSA leaks, telling HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin that the White House has crossed the line in some of its dealings with journalists.

The Obama administration recently came under fire over revelations that the DOJ secretly monitored phone records at the Associated Press and named Fox News reporter James Rosen as a "co-conspirator" in a leaks case. Both of those controversies prompted questions about whether the White House would investigate Glenn Greenwald for his bombshell stories about the NSA's secret domestic surveillance programs.

When asked whether he agreed with critics who say the Obama administration is "criminalizing" journalism, Gergen said that the White House "went way over the line" when it went after James Rosen.

His view, however, was nuanced. "These are hard questions in government," Gergen said. "You have to strike a balance between the needs of security and civil liberties."

Gergen argued that leakers, including NSA source Edward Snowden, should be punished. He also insisted that there should be "safeguards" on the government's ability to monitor its citizens, and public officials who abuse it should be punished.

"As a citizen, when i was in government, it's been very apparent to me... that having a tough set of watchdogs in journalist kept us more honest," he added.

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