New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly slammed the Obama administration for its handling of the National Security Administration scandal -- but not because he thinks the government was overextending its reach.
The city's top cop argued that the public would have been more amenable to the idea of the NSA spying on their electronic communications if it hadn't been kept a secret.
“I think the American public can accept the fact if you tell them that every time you pick up the phone it's going to be recorded and goes to the government,” Kelly said at an event Monday, according to the New York Daily News. "I think the public can understand that."
Though Kelly suggested that the content of Americans' phone calls is being recorded, the Guardian reported earlier this month that the government has been collecting call metadata, which includes the numbers a particular phone has dialled and the time, location and duration of calls, but not the content of conversations.
Obama's mistake, Kelly argued, was not being more forthcoming about what information the NSA is gathering, and which internal mechanisms draw the limit.
“I think we can raise people’s comfort level if in fact information comes out as to that we have these controls and these protections inside the NSA,” he said, according to the New York Post.
Kelly came under fire in 2012 after revelations about the NYPD's surveillance of Muslim communities.
At the time, he defended the police's spying. “Not everybody is going to be happy, but our primary mission, our primary goal is to keep this city safe and save lives,” Kelly said, according to CBS New York.