WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A Republican congressman Sunday blamed President Obama for not moving fast enough to defuse the controversy over intelligence data collection.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Obama could have used his "bully pulpit" to allay fears among the public that the National Security Agency was snooping on their private telephone and Internet communications.
"What I'm very critical of him for is basically he's been silent for the last two months," said King, an outspoken proponent of anti-terrorism intelligence efforts. "He has allowed the Edward Snowdens and the others of the world to dominate the media, and now we have so many people who actually think the NSA is spying on people."
King said he was happy Obama had refused to pull the plug on the NSA programs but disappointed at what he considered his tepid support for it and failure to clear up misconceptions about its privacy protections. "The president of the United States, as commander in chief, has the obligation to be aggressively and effectively defending this program and he really didn't do it," King said.
Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger, D-Md., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS that reforms making their way through Congress would address privacy concerns and also better inform the public about the need to continue the NSA collection programs.