Former president George W. Bush is in Zambia to renovate a health clinic and will lay a wreath with President Obama at the site of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing in Tanzania. It’s very ironic that the two will meet, as National Security Agency is under fire for its secret surveillance program — the torch was passed by GWB to Obama. Former president Bush didn’t mince words when he talked about NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who he said has “damaged the security of the country.”
He said he believes the Obama administration “will deal” with the fallout from the controversy unleashed by Snowden, who is now thought to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow airport after fleeing there from Hong Kong.
Snowden’s disclosures about the programs carried out by the National Security Agency have shaken the U.S. intelligence community and put the Obama administration on the defensive over accusations of government overreach into citizens’ privacy.
But Bush refrained from criticizing the current president. “I don’t think it does any good,” he said. “It’s a hard job. He’s got plenty on his agenda. It’s difficult. A former president doesn’t need to make it any harder. Other presidents have taken different decisions; that’s mine.”
The White House has defended the surveillance programs as necessary tools to defuse terrorist threats. Obama has said he welcomes a debate over how to strike a balance between security and privacy. “I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance,” Bush said. Source: CNN
On a positive note, he said ailing former South African president Nelson Mandela’s “legacy will last for a long time.”