It took a long time to get the president around to the admission, but after a week that included a federal judge reporting the NSA telephone metadata surveillance was “unconstitutional” and his own review panel reported that there was no proof the NSA had ever gotten any data from the program, President Obama finally got around to conceding the program “may be unnecessary.”
Getting that admission out of him isn’t the same thing as getting him to stop the program, however, as the best he would say was that it was possible that there were ways to alter the program, and that he was looking into the matter.
Indeed, the reluctant admission doesn’t read like one from the rest of President Obama’s comments, which remained on message about the notion that the NSA surveillance was totally legal and fine and that there would be some statement made on the possibility of reform next year, likely in January.
Obama went on to rail against Edward Snowden, whose leaks are the only reason the NSA abuse ever became public knowledge in the first place, insisting it was “damaging to the United States.”
Obama refused to address questions on amnesty for Snowden, insisting he was under indictment. That claim has yet to be verified, however, as no public indictment exists, and the Justice Department brushed questions about that, saying only to ask the White House.