PRESIDENT OBAMA: This intelligence gathering that we do is a critical component of counterterrorism. And obviously with Mr. Snowden and the disclosures of classified information, it's raising a lot of questions for people. But what I said as soon as it happened, I continue to believe in, which is a lot of these programs were put in place before I came in.
I had some skepticism. And I think we should have healthy skepticism about what government is doing. I had the programs reviewed. We put in some additional safeguards to make sure that there is federal court oversight as well as Congressional oversight that there is no spying on Americans. We don't have a domestic spying program.
What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a a phone number or an e-mail address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat, and that information is useful. But what I said before, I want to make sure I repeat, and that is we should be skeptical about the potential encroachments on privacy. None of the revelations show that government has actually abused these powers, but they're pretty significant powers. And I've been talking to Congress and civil libertarians and others about are there additional ways that we can make sure that people know that nobody is listening to your phone calls? (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, August 6, 2013)