Obama: ‘Nobody is listening to your telephone calls’

Updated
US President Barack Obama speaks about his administration's drone and counterterrorism policies, as well as the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, at the...
US President Barack Obama speaks about his administration's drone and counterterrorism policies, as well as the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, at the...
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama defended what he called long-standing Internet and phone monitoring programs as valuable tools to fight terrorism, saying that congressional lawmakers have been repeatedly briefed on the program and that federal judges oversee the program “throughout.”

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” Obama said. “That’s not what this program is about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at the numbers and durations of calls. They’re not looking at names and they’re not looking at content, but sifting through this so-called meta data, they may identify potential leads with respect to people that might engage in terrorism.”

The president’s remarks came one day after the revelation of two secret programs that allow government intelligence agencies to gather information on domestic phone and Internet usage by American citizens.

The president made the comments following a statement on the Affordable Care Act in San Jose, Calif. The president is scheduled to begin a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California later on Friday.

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Obama: ‘Nobody is listening to your telephone calls’

Updated