Obama de­fends Clin­ton

Lesotho Times - - International -

WASH­ING­TON — Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server to con­duct gov­ern­ment busi­ness when she served as sec­re­tary of state was a mis­take but didn’t en­dan­ger na­tional se­cu­rity, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said dur­ing an in­ter­view air­ing on Sun­day on CBS’S “60 Min­utes.”

Obama said pub­lic of­fi­cials have to be more sen­si­tive about how they han­dle in­for­ma­tion and per­sonal data.

Yet he also said the crit­i­cism of Clin­ton, who is lead­ing the Demo­cratic race for the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, has been “ginned up” be­cause of pol­i­tics.

“I think she’d be the first to ac­knowl­edge that maybe she could have han­dled the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion bet­ter and the dis­clo­sures more quickly,” Obama said.

Obama down­played the threat to na­tional se­cu­rity, and when it was pointed out that his ad­min­is­tra­tion has pros­e­cuted peo­ple for hav­ing clas­si­fied ma­te­rial on their pri­vate com­put­ers, the pres­i­dent said he didn’t get the im­pres­sion there was an in­tent to “hide some­thing or to squir­rel away in­for­ma­tion.”

He also said he was not ini­tially aware of her use of the pri­vate email server.

There are still ques­tions be­ing raised about the se­cu­rity of that sys­tem.

Obama also dis­cussed his views on Syria dur­ing the in­ter­view.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion said on Fri­day it is aban­don­ing a failed Pen­tagon ef­fort to build a new ground force of mod­er­ate rebels and over­haul­ing its ap­proach to in­stead part­ner with es­tab­lished rebel groups.

The change also re­flects grow­ing con­cern in Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion that Rus­sia’s in­ter­ven­tion has com­pli­cated the Syr­ian bat­tle­field and given new life to Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad.

Obama said he was “scep­ti­cal from the get-go” about the no­tion of cre­at­ing an army of mod­er­ate forces within Syria.

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