Mark Penn, Executive Vice President of Advertising and Strategy for Microsoft, weighed in on the National Security Agency scandal during a Friday appearance on HuffPost Live at Davos.
When asked about the controversy, Penn, who once served as advisor to both former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said people don't want to choose privacy over technology.
"I don't think we should think of it as a choice, people don't want technology or privacy, they want technology and privacy, and they want a reasonable amount of privacy," Penn said.
Penn said he thinks the issues raised by Edward Snowden have caused people to look at the NSA and its practices, and think about what's appropriate for government to do or not.
"These have become real serious questions," Penn said.
"Ultimately only one person is really going to decide [what will happen with the NSA], and that's the president who's going to decide something at this level," Penn said. "I think Americans felt [a few months ago] that [Snowden] had let out national security secrets. I think this time the pendulum is somewhere in the middle."
Penn also noted he was surprised journalists didn't catch on to the NSA scandal before Snowden broke the news.
"I find it interesting, really, how did journalism not uncover these issues earlier? Frankly I had a personal tour, kind of a fan tour of the CIA, kind of had a lunch, and I asked the question, 'Do you listen in on all the phone calls?'" Penn said. "The then CIA director just smiled and didn't answer the question. Well, that was an answer. And so, it's quite interesting that, journalism should be looking at itself and saying, how did they miss this story after all these years?"
See Penn's full interview below, and see more from Davos here.
CORRECTION: This post has been updated to correct a quote from Penn about the former CIA director.