aUG. 9 - President Barack Obama pledges to limit the sweep of U.S. government surveillance programs and says the U.S. must reassess its relationship with Russia. Mana Rabiee reports.
STORY: Greater transparency in surveillance programs. That was the bulk of the message on Friday from U.S. President Barack Obama, in his first formal news conference since April. Pressing the need to balance civil liberties with national security, Obama pledged to limit the sweep of government surveillance programs which have come under criticism. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Given the history of abuse by governments, it's right to ask questions about surveillance." Among the specific measures proposed: Better oversight of surveillance programs... ...Reform of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court... ...and an overhaul of an anti-terrorism law that governs the collection of phone records. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "America is not interested in spying on ordinary people." The move comes in the wake of security leaks from former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot." Snowden was granted asylum in Russia last week, a move that hurt already tense U.S.-Russia relations. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress Russia has not moved." Obama said the U.S. must reassess its relationship with Russia, citing recent steps the country has taken -- in Syria and on human rights, for example -- that contradict U.S. interests.