McDonough, who appeared on CNN's "Face the Nation" Sunday, indicated Obama will address the National Security Agency telephone data and Internet surveillance programs in the coming days.
"You'll hear what he said when he responded to reporters last week on this question, which is we do have to find the right balance, especially in this new situation where we find ourselves with all of us reliant on Internet, on email, on texting," he said.
McDonough declined to comment on the ongoing investigation of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower who publicly disclosed details of the agency's surveillance techniques.
"I can tell you I don't know where he is right now," McDonough said.
McDonough also said Snowden overstated his claims, and that his actions will likely hurt the United States' intelligence efforts.
"By putting these things out there the way he did, rather than having the kind of public debate we'd like to have ... in effect gives the playbook to those who would like to get around our techniques and practices, and obviously that's not in our interest in the long haul."