President Obama sought to calm down “hype” about secret surveillance programs Friday, telling reporters that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”
The intelligence community is “looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they are not looking at content.” By sifting through “metadata,” he said, they may find leads on potential terrorists. But to listen to the content of calls, he said, a court order from a judge would be needed.
He added that the e-mails of U.S. citizens are not being read.
He said he came into office with a “healthy skepticism” of these programs, but has come to believe that they prevent terrorist attacks and have developed safeguards “that Americans should feel comfortable about.”