01:47 - Source: CNN
Obama: Snowden was no patriot

Story highlights

President suggested Americans would have been better off if they hadn't found out about NSA program

Snowden's father rejects Obama's suggestion that he would have been protected

Federal whistleblower protection doesn't appear to help someone in Snowden's case

Washington CNN —  

If Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks led to changes in government policy, increased civil liberties protections and sparked a national dialogue, does it stand to reason that Edward Snowden is more whistleblower and patriot than traitor?

We know where President Barack Obama stands.

Even as he announced changes to the NSA programs, including the appointment of an independent government review, at a news conference on Friday, Obama suggested Americans would be better off if they hadn’t found out that the government collects vast amounts of phone and Internet data.

“No, I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot,” Obama said. A bit earlier he had argued that his administration was already in the process of reviewing the programs that most Americans didn’t know existed.

The leaks, he said, hurt that process.

“I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks,” Obama said. “My preference, and I think the American people’s preference, would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws; a thoughtful fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place.”

Obama: Snowden can make his case in court

Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, hasn’t spoken up about the president’s remarks, but his father did so on ABC News.