Tech tycoon Larry Ellison on NSA surveillance

(CBS News) SAN FRANCISCO - Oracle CEO Larry Ellison sat down with Charlie Rose at his compound near San Francisco and gave his surprising opinion on the NSA surveillance program.

CHARLIE ROSE: Where do you come down on what the NSA is doing?

LARRY ELLISON: Well, the great thing is we live in a democracy. If we don't like what the NSA is doing, we can just get rid of the government and put in a different government. I think, actually, we've been collecting this information for so long, long before the NSA was collecting it. Let me tell you who was collecting it.

American Express, Visa, all of your credit card data, we have, and all of your financial records. This whole issue of privacy is utterly fascinating to me. Who's ever heard of this information being misused by the government? In what way?

Watch: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison talks Google, Apple and the NSA

ROSE: Let me just hear you clearly. You were saying whatever the NSA's doing is okay with me?

ELLISON: It's great. I wish, you know, it's great. It's essential. By the way, President Obama thinks it's essential.

It's essential if we want to minimize the kind of strikes that we just had in Boston. It's absolutely essential.

ROSE: But what point would it be alarming for you, in terms of government surveillance? At what point would your red line be crossed?

Watch: Larry Ellison sees dark future for Apple without Jobs

ELLISON: If the government used it to do political targeting. If the Democrats used it to go after Republicans. If the Republicans used it to go after Democrats.

In other words, if we stop looking for terrorists and we started looking for people, on the other side of the aisle.

Ellison is also an innovator in yacht racing. Wednesday on "CBS This Morning," Charlie will talk to Ellison about how he's revolutionized the America's Cup Race held in San Francisco.

  • Charlie Rose On Twitter»

    Charlie Rose is a co-host of "CBS This Morning" and "Person to Person." Rose began contributing to 60 Minutes in 2008.

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