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Washington, DC - June 10, 2013
1. SOUNDBITE: Jay Carney / White House Press Secretary
I will say at the outset that there is an investigation underway in this matter, and for that reason, I am not going to be able to discuss this individual or this investigation. Nor would I characterize the president's views on an individual or on an investigation. You heard the president talk on Friday, on a couple of occasions about his views in general of some of the revelations that have been made...the leaks that have occurred. I think he spoke expansively about both his concerns and his belief that we need to strike the appropriate balance between our national security interests and our interests in privacy. The fact that upon coming into office, he assessed and his team assessed the programs that existed and in some cases, enhanced oversight...and he believes that with the oversight that exists and the implementation of the programs as they are implemented that the balance is appropriately struck....but it is an absolutely appropriate topic for debate."
At the White House, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that although President Obama can't comment on the investigation into NSA leaker Edward Snowden, he thinks NSA programs Snowden revealed have the right balance between privacy and security.
An apparent international cat-and-mouse game was in play Monday following the confession of Edward Snowden, a former CIA tech expert who leaked details of top-secret American surveillance programs to two news organizations and then hunkered down in a Hong Kong hotel.
Snowden, 29, stepped forward over the weekend as the source of leaks to Britain's the Guardian and the Washington Post about the U.S. government's sweeping monitoring of cellphone logs and Web servers in apparent counter-terrorism efforts.
Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to China in 1997, has an extradition treaty with the United States. But China has the ultimate say over extradition requests in cases where the country's foreign interests could be at stake.
Snowden said he chose Hong Kong because of its "strong tradition of free speech."
Snowden reportedly checked out of a downtown Hong Kong hotel on Monday. His subsequent whereabouts were not immediately known, but a top-ranking official in Hong Kong law enforcement suggested in a statement that Snowden would be wise to leave the city
Snowden is facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, currently under fire for previous leak probes. He says he leaked the information in order to protect "basic liberties for people around the world.