President Obama on Thursday strongly defended the Justice Department leaks investigation that secretly gathered private phone records of Associated Press journalists, suggesting that protecting U.S. personnel overseas outweighs press privileges in this case.

"Leaks related to national security can put people at risk. They can put men and women in uniform that I've sent into the battlefield at risk," Obama said during a news conference with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "And so I make no apologies, and I don't think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed."