White House Asked if Edward Snowden Is a Hero

Press Secretary Jay Carney says information was classified for a reason.
5:20 | 06/10/13

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Transcript for White House Asked if Edward Snowden Is a Hero
-- how much damage has been done by this -- I can tell you that -- the death. -- to -- the -- of the director of the national intelligence has said that they will be doing the damage assessment. The -- -- the -- national counterintelligence executive rather is conducting a formal damage assessment. And for details on that process I don't believe they. Reach conclusions but for details on that -- would -- to them. We didn't hear. One clockers. Statements we can't say grave. Damages and talent or intelligence. Gathering capabilities -- -- shares if we certainly support and and what director clapper said and again I think that that assessment is ongoing but he certainly in a position to know. Broadly speaking that. You know revelations like this can be and have been damaging. Square that -- what you just that a few minutes ago about every member of congress was told about this. There was a public debate on all of this. How do you square this with -- kind of nothing new here programs -- -- -- place for years have been thoroughly debated -- -- being something that causes -- Now he's under -- job. Say there are specific. Classified. Operations and programs. But there are authorizations for. This overall. Effort that our public part of -- public -- it. That's the public debate about Patriot Act and it's -- authorizations then there -- procedures for oversight. Whether -- through the fights a court or through briefings to members of congress. -- are necessarily. -- not public because they deal with this very sensitive operational information. But -- those those. Procedures are put into place precisely provide that kind of those checks and balances that the president believes are necessary when he came in. If he instituted. And his team instituted a series of additional. Oversight measures through the executive branch to enhance that. Process of providing checks and balances precisely because he believes it's important. But again as he said. And I'll repeat. He thinks this is of worthy subject for discussion it's not this is not the manner by which he had hoped to have the debate he spoke about this just a few weeks ago. In his long speech at the National Defense University. Spoke about a number of matters but actually talked about surveillance and privacy and national security specifically. And he -- -- and having that debate and having this discussed he believes it's in our interest as a nation to discuss it and debated and for us to collectively. Assess where that balance should be struck. He has obviously. Because -- his responsibility as an office. Assessed and made determinations about the efficacy of programs that exists that are in the interest -- our national security and I've taken action to ensure that. The balance is struck in his view appropriately but that. Doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to debate this because it is a matter of great national interest. Noted in the guardian poll suggested that there's more -- -- what. Is being done to ensure that this. 49 year old there was no more damage. Security. Quote the kinds of assessments and actions that will be gone and taken by -- investigative authorities as well as -- intelligence communities for. -- -- -- except to say that as you would expect. You know action is being taken and will be taken to protect our national security. Information that is what -- -- petition in the White House. Web site saying pardon. We're Snowden. Immediately -- president issue -- -- 121006. Thomas what is the -- -- -- OK and this sense that he is a hero some of someone calling him a hero for. For being a whistle blower in this -- I won't comment specifically on an individual or his status. When it comes to the petitions. We obviously away. Threshold being crossed before we. Respond to it and that threshold is nothing. -- and Waverly Texas. Weather beaten and whether somebody else. What would you say the notion that whoever leaked this is. I think. Director clap clap or spoken about this -- think the president has that in general. Leaks of sensitive classified information. They cause harm to our national security interest or problem a serious problem. And they're classified for a reason and as I said I think Jessica when you and I'm I'm basically paraphrasing. Director clapper that when you you know divulge information provides. Playbook if you will to how we need to -- efforts that. This government undertakes to counter. The efforts of those who would kill Americans were attacked the United States in some ways -- our allies you're assisting them in. And evading those measures so but I again I'm just paraphrasing. The expert here if you will assessments are being made more broadly about. You know that the damage done here by the appropriate authorities.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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