News

Obama to release review panel’s report on surveillance practices

Obama to release review panel’s report on surveillance practices

NSA REPORT: White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 16. Carney reiterated the position of the White House that there will be no amnesty for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Photo: Associated Press/Evan Vucci

By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama prepared to release an independent panel’s review of U.S. intelligence practices on Wednesday in a prelude to announcing a broad set of new policy procedures aimed at reining in the National Security Agency.

Spurred into action by revelations of U.S. surveillance by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, Obama will announce next month some constraints on the intelligence community to ensure American officials are focusing on foreign threats and not simply gathering information because they have the capability to do so.

The 300-page report of the outside advisory panel will provide an important window into Obama’s thinking on how he plans to impose some restrictions on the National Security Agency. It includes 46 recommendations.

Obama met on Wednesday in the White House Situation Room with members of the advisory panel including Richard Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser in the Clinton and Bush White Houses; Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA; and Peter Swire, who worked on technology issues in the Obama and Clinton administrations.

The group has recommended Obama change the NSA leadership from military to civilian, store the vast amount of data on phone calls collected by the agency at a third-party organization, and use stricter standards for searching the data, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

“We need to ensure that our intelligence resources are most effectively supporting our foreign policy and national security objectives and that we are more effectively weighing the risks and the rewards of our activities, and that includes ensuring that we are above all focused on the threats to the American people,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Obama is attempting to straddle a fine line between making sure information is gathered to head off potential threats, but at the same time respect privacy concerns. The NSA has had a sweeping ability to collect telephone records and Internet communications.

A steady drip of revelations from Snowden about the vast scope of NSA spying has raised widespread concern about the reach of such U.S. operations with the ability to pry into the affairs of private individuals as well as the communications of foreign leaders.

Both Brazilian President Dilma Roussef and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have complained directly to Obama about reports of eavesdropping on their private communications.

Some of Obama’s liberal supporters have also been troubled by the scope of U.S. surveillance, a contributing factor to his low job approval rating, now hovering around 40 percent.

Obama said earlier this month in a television interview that he would be “proposing some self-restraint on the NSA” in reforms that the White House has said will be announced in January.

A federal judge ruled on Monday that the U.S. government’s gathering of Americans’ phone records is likely unlawful, adding pressure on Obama to act.

And the president met for more than two hours on Tuesday to hear concerns firsthand from executives from companies like Apple Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc and Microsoft Corp.

The executives explained why they do not want their technology used to spy on private citizens.

(Writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Vicki Allen)

Latest Stories

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Drones Get Deployed In Search For Hannah Graham

Fresh
Sellers Col. Steve 041013 CC

Drones are now being used in the search for missing UVA student Hannah Graham.

in National

U.S. Secret Service directior resigns

The White House seen from outside the north lawn fence in Washington

Julia Pierson has resigned amid security lapses at the White House.

in Sports, Viral Videos

John Oliver explains English soccer

20-overlay

The "Last Week Tonight" host explains the class system of English soccer to David Letterman.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Matthew due in court Thursday on reckless driving charge

Matthew Jesse In Court 092614 (from SAGA)

A bond hearing for the man accused in the abduction of Hannah Graham has been pushed back but he is scheduled to be in court on separate charges.

in National

Rhode Island child with Enterovirus dies

cdc

A child hospitalized for less than 24 hours with Enterovirus D68 has died from the bacterial infection.