Obama just completed his speech on NSA reforms.

Below the key video portion of the speech (full text here).

I found this part to be a key dose of reality often lacking from the debate:

First, everyone who has looked at these problems, including skeptics of existing programs, recognizes that we have real enemies and threats, and that intelligence serves a vital role in confronting them. We cannot prevent terrorist attacks or cyber-threats without some capability to penetrate digital communications – whether it’s to unravel a terrorist plot; to intercept malware that targets a stock exchange; to make sure air traffic control systems are not compromised; or to ensure that hackers do not empty your bank accounts.

Moreover, we cannot unilaterally disarm our intelligence agencies. There is a reason why blackberries and I-Phones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room. We know that the intelligence services of other countries – including some who feign surprise over the Snowden disclosures – are constantly probing our government and private sector networks, and accelerating programs to listen to our conversations, intercept our emails, or compromise our systems. Meanwhile, a number of countries, including some who have loudly criticized the NSA, privately acknowledge that America has special responsibilities as the world’s only superpower; that our intelligence capabilities are critical to meeting these responsibilities; and that they themselves have relied on the information we obtain to protect their own people.

Whether the “reforms” are meaningful in protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans is another questions.

Full Obama Speech here.

Rand Paul’s response:

More reactions:

http://twitter.com/EFF/status/424230541135589376
http://twitter.com/EFF/status/424231806926217216
http://twitter.com/jpodhoretz/status/424218294648729600
http://twitter.com/meredithdake/status/424218313288187905
http://twitter.com/saschameinrath/status/424226771287150592
http://twitter.com/derekahunter/status/424223939980980224