WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, President Obama held his first formal White House news conference in over three months.
Up first, he talked about Edward Snowden’s admitted leaks of classified NSA documents.
“Given the history of abuse by governments, it is right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives,” the President said. “It’s not enough for me as president to have confidence in these programs, the American people need to have confidence in them as well.”
The President outlined four new steps to ensure government programs won’t be used to spy on Americans, among them: working with congress to reform the section of the Patriot Act that deals with collecting telephone record and, overall, more transparency.
Snowden also looms large in a new chill between the U.S. and Russia. The President explained, for the first time, why he canceled a one-on-one with President Vladimir Putin, saying the U.S. and Russia were not making progress on a host of issues.
“I’ve encouraged Putin to think forward as opposed to backwards w/mixed success,” said the President. “I think latest episode is one more in number of emerging differences inn last several months around Syria, human rights…where it’s probably appropriate for us to take a pause.”
Saturday, the president heads to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Shannon Travis filed this report for CNN.