Barack Obama

Jon Favreau Defends Obama's Record on Surveillance and Transparency

Obama's former chief speechwriter goes to bat against information leakers.

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"If a Donald Trump became president, he doesn't have the executive authority to suddenly create a police surveillance state that has no checks on it whatsoever—I think that's very important," says Jon Favreau, Barack Obama's chief speechwriter and close confidante from 2005 to 2013. Reason TV's Justin Monticello sat down with Favreau for a spirited exchange about Obama's legacy on surveillance and transparency.

Favreau says he wouldn't trust President Trump with current executive authorities like, say, having an extrajudicial kill list. But speaking of transparency, what does he think about NSA whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake?

"If you leak information, it is a severe penalty and very, very illegal. And if you don't want to, and if you feel like your conscience is going to stop you, then don't sign up and don't get your security clearance and go find another job," states Favreau. "Those people have to be prosecuted because it's part of the law."

But does he think there's a role for whistleblowers when they're being forced to violate the Constitution?

Watch the clip above for his full remarks. Click below for the original article and the complete interview.