Obama pledges more transparency over surveillance

Saturday 10 August 2013 15.03
US President Barack Obama pictured at the briefing
US President Barack Obama pictured at the briefing

US President Barack Obama has said the United States "can and must be more transparent" about surveillance programmes.

He also promised to work with the US Congress to put constraints on government spying.

He was speaking at a news conference in the White House where he announced plans to increase oversight of government collection of Internet and phone data.

Referring to US fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, Mr Obama said he did not believe Mr Snowden was a patriot.

He did say, however, that Mr Snowden’s leaks triggered a much more rapid, passionate response about US surveillance.

Elsewhere, Mr Obama said the US has always had tension with Russia and it is an appropriate juncture to reassess where the two nations stand after Russia has taken a series of actions that contradict US interests.

"Frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress Russia has not moved," Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama said that he does not have a "bad personal relationship" with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Obama recently cancelled a Moscow visit the leader around the time of the Group of 20 summit in St Petersburg.