President Barack Obama's call for the government to stop collecting Americans' phone records and spying on friendly international leaders is "convoluted" and eliminates him from blame, former Florida Rep. Allen West told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Basically, this was the 'if you like your privacy, you can keep it' speech. It was all over the place, it was very convoluted," said West, referring to Obama's controversial "if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it" speech.
"Whenever the president says, 'this is not easy, this is hard,' or whatever, he's going to give you a long, drawn out, professorial type of speech but in the end, we're still doing it. That's the bottom line."
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West believes agencies like the National Security Agency do not need to collect "metadata" on Americans.
"We know who the enemy is, target the enemy, and get their records. Get their conversations. Get their emails,'' he said.
"But … grandma, who is calling and sharing her hot apple pie recipe, does not need to be listened into by any surveillance agency."
In a speech Friday, Obama said the U.S. had a ‘‘special obligation’’ to re-examine its intelligence programs and make sure they didn't trample on civil liberties.
West said Obama's speech, "really does eliminate him from any type of blame, any type of responsibility because he could say I told you all what we would try to do and that was it and I don't know where further else to take it.
"It's just incompetence, once again, and it was a very incoherent speech. It was, what, 47 minutes?"
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