President Barack Obama again sought to distance himself from comparisons to former Vice President Dick Cheney during an interview with PBS aired Monday.
“Some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.’ Dick Cheney sometimes says, ‘Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel,’” Obama told PBS' Charlie Rose. “My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?”
Obama's argument came during a broader defense of massive NSA data surveillance programs uncovered in documents recently leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. During the interview, Obama told Rose that the program was entirely "transparent" because the FBI had to go "to the FISA court with probable cause and ask for a warrant" for wiretaps.
The president's comments mark his second attempt in three months to convince a national audience that he differs from Cheney in his support for various controversial programs.
Back in March, amid fiery debate over the use of drones, Obama again invoked Cheney while providing members of Congress with his legal justification for the strikes.
“This is not Dick Cheney we’re talking about here,” he said, according to Politico.
Obama and Cheney do appear to agree on the merits of the programs, however. In February the former vice president called the use of drones a "good policy." Over the weekend, Cheney also offered a strong defense of NSA surveillance, saying that it was an invaluable tool for national security.