President: I could become NSA target

President Obama on Friday said he sympathized with concerns about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance because he could be targeted after leaving the White House.

Obama noted that he "will leave this office sometime in the next three and a half years," and at that point, would "have a personal interest in making sure my privacy is protected."

“I suspect that on a list of people who might be targeted, so that someone could read their emails or listen to their phone calls, I'd probably be pretty high on that list,” Obama said.


But the president said he has confidence in the checks and balances in the system and the officials involved in the program.

"I know that the people who are involved in these programs, they operate like professionals and these things are very narrowly circumscribed. They're very focused," Obama said.


"[Officials] take this work very seriously" and "cherish the Constitution," Obama said.

"The last thing they'd be doing is taking programs like this to listen to somebody's phone calls.”

The president spoke out about NSA surveillance for the first time since the revelations this week about snooping by the agency into phone records and online communications.

The administration has defended both programs as necessary to combat terrorism, and Obama on Friday stressed that members of Congress have been thoroughly briefed about the surveillance.

"If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress and don't trust federal judges to make sure we're abiding by the Constitution, then we're going to have some problems here," Obama said.