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Obama criticizes 'sensational' exposure of spying

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January 17, 2014 11:43 AM EST | AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden's "sensational" revelations of classified spying programs could impact U.S. operations for years to come.

Some are calling for clemency for Snowden, who faces espionage charges and is residing in Russia. But Obama says U.S. defense depends, quote, "on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation's secrets."

He says if those individuals take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, the United States will never be able to protect Americans or conduct foreign policy. He says Snowden's decision to go to the media "has often shed more heat than light, while revealing methods to our adversaries."

Obama's remarks came Friday as he announced changes to the programs based on a public outcry after Snowden's revelations.