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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. Plus, a look at Vladimir Putin's international image.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. Plus, a look at Vladimir Putin's international image.

August 7th, 2013
07:20 PM ET

Fmr. Obama aide slams president’s comments on NSA

A former special advisor to President Barack Obama and co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" Van Jones criticized the president's recent statements about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance programs.

"We don't have a domestic spying program," Obama said on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday. "What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat."

Jones said that the president's policies suggest otherwise.

"Everybody knows I love this president, but this is ridiculous," said Jones. "We do have a spying program, and we need to figure out how to balance these out."

Jones also criticized the Obama administration's treatment of whistleblowers.

"You are prosecuting more whistleblowers than every American president combined," said Jones. "You can't yuck it up and say, well, whistleblowers come on out and we'll treat you right."

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also stepped out Tuesday, warning his party against defunding Obamacare through attachments to the upcoming spending bill, at risk of adding to the likelihood of a federal government shutdown.

The former Republican presidential candidate's advice may not be welcome to all Republicans, said S.E. Cupp, co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." Cupp praised Romney's business background and suggested sending him to help Detroit, but questioned his political advice given his unsuccessful presidential campaigns.

"I don't think he's proven himself to be a particularly adept political strategist, so warning Republicans about the optics of the messaging, I don't know that he's sort of the best advisor," said Cupp.

"Crossfire" debuts September 16th on CNN.

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