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Obama On NSA Spying: "We Have Struck The Appropriate Balance" Of Privacy And Security

President Obama attempts to assure a skeptical German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the press that he has "struck the appropriate balance" between privacy and security in the NSA's surveillance of international internet traffic.

"I came into office committed to protecting the American people, but also committed to our values and our ideals. And one of our highest ideals is civil liberties and privacy. And I was a critic of the previous administration for those occasions in which I felt they had violated our values, and I came in with a healthy skepticism about how our various programs were structured. But what I have been able to do is examine and scrub how our intelligence services are operating, and I’m confident that at this point, we have struck the appropriate balance," Obama said at a joint press conference with Merkel on Wednesday.

"And as a consequence, we’ve saved lives," Obama claimed. "We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved. And the encroachment on privacy has been strictly limited by a court-approved process to relate to these particular categories."

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