During a press conference on surveillance reforms Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama made clear his thoughts on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot," Obama said.
"The fact is, Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies," Obama said.
Snowden was charged with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property.
Obama announced new measures Friday to increase transparency and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court amid growing concerns over the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance programs.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Obama proposed the first of several steps "to help restore public confidence" following revelations in June that the federal government was secretly mining millions of Americans' phone and electronic communications.
"Unfortunately, rather than an orderly and lawful process to debate these issues and come up with appropriate reforms, repeated leaks of classified information have initiated the debate in a very passionate but not always fully informed way," Obama said. "But given the history of abuse by governments, it's right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives."
The president's proposed measures focused on reforming Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, under which the NSA programs are considered lawful. The reforms would focus on creating more oversight and greater transparency, particularly through modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which currently authorizes the surveillance through highly-classified opinions.
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