Bush: Snowden Damaged Security of Country

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 12:24 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Former President George W. Bush says Edward Snowden's leaking of information about the NSA surveillance program has "damaged the security of the country."

"I know he damaged the country," Bush told CNN in an interview Monday. "The Obama administration will deal with it."

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He also said the surveillance program was designed with civil liberties in mind.

"I put the program in place to protect the country, and one of the certainties is civil liberties were guaranteed," he said. "I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance."

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Bush also talked about why he's made the decision not to criticize Obama.

"I don't think it does any good," the former president said. "It's a hard job. He's got plenty on his agenda. And it's difficult. And a former president doesn't need to make it any harder."

Bush was in Livingstone, Zambia, with the former first lady, Laura Bush, for the opening of a renovated health clinic that will provide cervical cancer screening and treatment.

He said he wants to spend "the rest of my life, as best as I can, trying to improve the human condition," especially in Africa.

The former president also talked about the legacy of Nelson Mandela, who is currently on life support in South Africa.

"Sometimes there are leaders who come and go. His legacy will last for a long time," he said.

Bush said that he doesn't care what opinion polls say about his favorability.

"The only time I really cared was on Election Day," he said.

"Ultimately, history will judge the decisions I made, and I won't be around. It's going to take a while for the objective historians to show up."

Bush later traveled to the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, where he met up with Obama for a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the deadly 1998 attack on the U.S. embassy there.


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