WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Thursday a "balance" should be struck between national security interests and freedom of the press, in response to a question about the Justice Department's decision to subpoena the phone records of the Associated Press.
"Leaks related to national security can put people at risk, they can put men and women in uniform that I've sent into the battlefield at risk," Obama said, while declining to comment on the pending case.
"U.S. national security is dependent upon those folks being able to operate with confidence that folks back home have their backs, so they're not just left out there high and dry."
Obama said he made "no apologies" for being concerned about national security but that the free flow of information was important to him as well.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that his second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, had signed off on the AP subpoenas. Obama said Thursday he had "complete confidence" in Holder.
Obama rebuffed a comparison between his governing style and that of former President Richard Nixon.
"I'll let you guys engage in those comparisons," Obama said. "You can read the history and draw your own conclusions."
Sabrina Siddiqui contributed reporting.