Obama to Leno: domestic tracking programs critical to security. What do you think?

President Obama jokes with Jay Leno during a commercial break during the taping of his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Tuesday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Obama on Tuesday defended the U.S. government’s surveillance programs, telling NBC’s Jay Leno that: “There is no spying on Americans,” writes NPR’s Greg Henderson.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” Obama said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. “What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack. … That information is useful.”

Obama also called the National Security Agency’s surveillance a “critical component to counterterrorism,” and defended the shutdown of U.S. embassies and travel warnings this weekend, saying they followed information about a possible terror threat “significant enough that we’re taking every precaution.”

But he added: “We’re going to live our lives,” and noted that for Americans, the the odds off dying in a terrorist attack is lower than dying in a car accident.

Today’s Question: President Obama tells Jay Leno that domestic tracking programs critical to security. What do you think?

  • Gary F

    You are asking the wrong question. Yes, there is some necessity for domestic tracking following a set of predetermined protocols.

    But, after the Gibson Guitar raids and the IRS targeting Obama’s political enemies, the question should be …….“There is no spying on Americans,” Do you believe him?

    • Sue de Nim

      Innuendo. Bah!

      • Gary F

        Have you not followed the Gibson guitar story?
        Really?

        • david

          Nice, now the right wing has a scapegoat. After someone gets busted by the fish and game department for trafficking in endangered species they can run to fox news and cry it was an IRS conspiracy. How handy.

          • Gary F

            That answer means you haven’t followed the story and who the players are.

          • david

            No, I let my subscription to republicanconspiracytheories.com lapse. Life is too short.

          • Doug

            Wow, so any news that doesn’t fit your preconceived perceptions does not exist? The story was actually covered by many news sources, and raises some serious questions about this administrations abuses of power.

  • PaulJ

    Who is watching the watchers?

  • Sue de Nim

    Much more critical to national security is to stop making enemies and (re)start making more friends.

  • Rich in Duluth

    I think it’s clear that government agencies are gathering intelligence on our communications. My concern is, what can they do with the information or what do we, through our representatives in Congress, allow them to do with it.

    • kevins

      This is a good question and one that our government employees should be able to answer, but all I get back from my Congressman (7th District) are group e-letters about milk production and sugar beets. Also isn’t the 6th District Congresswoman on the intelligence Committee? She is no where to be found unless the issues are gays and abortion. I wish some of tthe folks who are verklempt about the data gathering could come up with an alternative, as you can’t have it both ways, and I’m certain they would howl if the government were seeming to do nothing to keep tabs on the nasty folks that want to kill us.

    • Pearly

      I agree and think this is the new normal. Democrat or republican in charge. The gathering will go on they are hooked like an addict

  • david

    Beats me, but I have a suspension there will be claims disaster was averted by closing the foreign embassies because they obtained intel through the surveillance program.

  • J

    I’d like my vote back.

  • James

    I think the methods they are using – collecting information on every call made, whether said information is used currently or not – violates our fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Where’s the probable cause? Where’s the warrant, that you had to convince a judge to sign, that John Q. Public, individually and specifically, is a threat?

  • Duane

    I believe the President is lying to the people. His administration has been very good at attempting to mislead and misinform the people on many issues and for the most part the people have wanted to believe him. I feel the truth is beginning to evolve and in due time the people will see what an incompetent leader our President has been. It is unfortunate for the country he was elected to a second term. By the way, I only make one post per topic. I expect some posters to adamantly disagree, but I stand by my one post.

  • JQP

    Yes- critical in the way an MRI is in properly diagnosing an ear infection. You never kjnow… it could be a brain tumor.

  • Jake K

    Who watches Jay Leno?

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    As long as we are using the country as a dumping ground for every Tom, Dick, and Harry from places that are traditionally unfriendly to the USA, the government really has no choice but to monitor and track people in this country. These are sad times.

  • Goering Laughs

    The secret police state is utter madness. How this could happen when there are so many in Washington: Democracy is down right stupid. I heard 70% of the snoop budget goes to private firms. And they donate to the Congressmen who vote for more secret police.
    From another time…
    Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the
    country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the
    country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    by:Hermann Goering (1893-1946) Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitler’s designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich. [Göring]Date:April 18, 1946 Source:Nuremberg Diary (Farrar, Straus & Co 1947), by Gustave Gilber