National Journal 
August 10, 2013
President Obama couldn’t say it—he denied it repeatedly in fact—but Edward Snowden was very much the reason he felt compelled to stand before the national press on a sun-baked Friday August afternoon and attempt to explain why his administration would pursue reforms of its counterterrorism programs even though—and this is the tricky part—he wouldn’t concede that those programs are flawed in any way.
That brings us back to Snowden, the whistleblower/patriot/traitor squirreled away somewhere in Russia after revealing key operational details of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs. The drip-drip of disclosures was slowly eroding the public’s faith in the system, the president said Friday, and he needed to take steps to reassure the world that it wasn’t being abused. He worried aloud that Americans were increasingly viewing the government as an Orwellian “Big Brother.”
“It’s not enough for me as president to have confidence in these programs,” Obama said before reporters in the White House East Room. “The American people need to have confidence in them, as well.”