(Weekly Standard) – President Obama tells comedian Jay Leno that “We don’t have a domestic spying program.” He made the comment during a taping of Leno’s TV show.
Obama also says the U.S. is not overreacting by closing some U.S. embassies for a week. The president tells Leno, “The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are a lot lower than they are of dying in a car accident, unfortunately.”
Here’s the pool report:
POTUS finished taping the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He was wearing the same dark suit and blue tie as earlier today in Arizona.
Pool watched the taping on TV from another room at the NBC studios.
We are able to report on the contents now, after the taping, but not release a full transcript or too many quotes.
Pretty newsy interview. Leno asked about Edward Snowden, NSA, embassy closings, Russia, Hillary Clinton, economy, healthcare.
On embassy closings:
POTUS said the U.S. was not overreacting.
POTUS said people can still take vacation, just do so in a “prudent way” by checking on the State Department Websites for up-to-day information before making plans.
“The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are a lot lower than they are of dying in a car accident, unfortunately.”
POTUS said government surveillance is a “critical component to counterterrorism.” But, he said, he knows that the surveillance programs have “raised a lot of questions for people.”
“We don’t have a domestic spying program. What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terroritst attack…That information is useful.”
Leno asked POTUS what he would call Snowden?
“We don’t know exactly what he did, except what he said on the Internet and it’s im important for me not to judge.”
POTUS said he asked his staff to look at ways to reduce the number of contractors.
POTUS said he was disappointed in its decision on Snowden, but he said the two nations still work together on Afghainstan and the Boston bombing.
“There are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality. What I continually say to them and to President Putin, that’s the past.”
POTUS said he would be attending the G-20 summitt in St. Petersburg, Russia.
He does not think that the gay rights controversy there will affect the Olympics.