Former President George W. Bush defended a National Security Agency surveillance program on Sunday, calling the collection of Internet data a necessary tool for homeland security.
“I put that program in place to protect the country,” Bush said in an interview with CNN. “One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed.”
Bush, who is in Zambia on a two-country trip to Africa, told CNN that he believes the Obama administration “will deal” with the consequences of former defense contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks, refusing to criticize President Obama over allegations of government intrusion into citizens’ privacy.
“I think there needs to be a balance, and as the President explained, there is a proper balance,” he said.
Correction: This article originally said the interview took place on Monday. In fact, it took place on Sunday.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.