President Barack Obama announced Friday his administration’s plans to reform the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, but he made it clear that his opinion of Edward Snowden hasn’t changed.
“Given the fact of an open investigation, I’m not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or motivations. I will say that our nation’s defense depends in part on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation’s secrets,” Obama said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
“If any individual who objects to government policy can take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will never be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy. Moreover, the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light, while revealing methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come.”
Snowden’s revelations prompted an global debate over the NSA’s surveillance programs, and prompted the review of the agency’s actions. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who’s published many of Snowden’s disclosures, dismissed Obama’s speech as a “PR gesture.”