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?