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Beltway Confidential

Chris Christie softens NSA rhetoric

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Beltway Confidential,New Jersey,National Security,Chris Christie,NSA,Ashe Schow

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., was much less combative in his defense of the National Security Agency programs that have lead to the wiretapping of foreign leaders and the mass collection of innocent Americans' metadata.

Christie, speaking Tuesday with “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos, said he still supports the programs but that they need to be properly monitored.

“I have always felt like these programs are necessary and important but they have to have appropriate oversight,” Christie said. “Both from the White House who’s executing on these programs and from the Congress who has the legal authority to have oversight.”

Christie also said he wanted to be sure that White House and Congress “were doing their jobs” as far as overseeing the NSA and its programs.

Stephanopoulos asked Christie if the governor believed the U.S. should be spying on allies – like German Chancellor Angela Merkel – but Christie deflected.

“I'm not in any position to make those judgments sitting here as the governor of New Jersey,” Christie said. “What I'm focused on today is trying to continue the mission we have here.”

This was a far different tone than Christie struck in July, when he called the libertarians of both political parties “dangerous” for wanting to reign in or end the NSA's spy programs.

"As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on September 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought," Christie said at the time.

Christie had also challenged NSA opponents to “sit across from the widows and the orphans [of 9/11] and have that conversation.”

Christie is up for reelection in New Jersey on November 5.

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Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner