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Clyburn: Obama can't have 'blank check' on NSA surveillance

  |   Aug. 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.,on Sunday said President Barack Obama can't "have a blank check" on National Security Agency surveillance programs.

The House assistant Democratic leader's comments came during CNN's "State of the Union."

Clyburn said he was pleased that Obama outlined steps to be taken toward intelligence gathering reform, but also said that he voted to defund the NSA surveillance program because it required trusting more people than the president.

"The president spoke out on this issue long before Snowden," Clyburn said, referring to the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. "And I was very comfortable with the president's position on this. It's just that every now and then, you catch a vote in order to let your constituents know and for your colleagues to know exactly how you feel about situation, and sometimes, let the White House know that this is something that we cannot allow you to have just a blank check on."

Clyburn also said that he feels that more transparency is needed in regards to NSA surveillance programs.

"Transparency is always very, very important. I think most American people want to be safe and secure in their homes and when they are carrying out their day to day activities," Clyburn said. "And so, we want the president to do what is necessary to keep us safe. He's got a tremendous record in that regard, and I'm very proud of that record, but, all things don't start and stop at the president's desk."

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