Obama meets with tech execs on surveillance, privacy

by Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY 12:46 p.m. EDT August 9, 2013

WASHINGTON — President Obama hosted top executives from Apple, AT&T, Google and other tech and civil liberties groups at the White House on Thursday to discuss government surveillance, a White House official confirmed.

The meeting, which was first reported by Politico, was not on the president’s public schedule.

“The meeting was part of the ongoing dialogue the president has called for on how to respect privacy while protecting national security in a digital era,” said the official, who was not authorized to comment publicly on the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Thursday’s meeting, which included Apple CEO Tim Cook and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, followed another outreach effort earlier this week by White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. They met with a group of tech executives and civil liberty activists on Tuesday.

The president may have alluded to the meetings in his interview earlier this week with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, when he noted that he was “talking to Congress and civil libertarians and others” about the issue.

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