News / USA

Obama to Consult Intelligence Leaders, Congress on NSA Review

FILE - President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the White House.
FILE - President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the White House.
Reuters
President Barack Obama will hear from intelligence officials and congressional leaders as he nears the final stages of a review over how much to rein in U.S. surveillance practices in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, officials said on Tuesday.
 
Later this month, Obama is set to unveil a series of reforms to how the National Security Agency collects intelligence, with a view toward giving Americans more confidence that their privacy is not being violated.
 
Questions about U.S. government spying on civilians and foreign officials burst into the open in June when former U.S. spy agency contractor Snowden, now living in Russia, leaked documents outlining widespread collection of telephone metadata and email.
      
Obama spent part of his two-week Hawaii vacation considering some recommendations from an outside presidential advisory panel of experts. Separately, a lengthy internal White House review is nearing completion and will help form the basis of the president's reforms, to be laid out in a speech.
 
White House officials said Obama will hold meetings with people with a variety of perspectives as he nears the final stages of a continuing internal White House review.
 
He will meet on Wednesday with leaders of the intelligence community and with members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board, an independent panel that advises the White House on privacy concerns.
 
On Thursday, he will meet with congressional leaders on the subject.
 
Obama has given indications that he would like to strike a middle ground on how far to go in reining in the N.S.A., saying some checks are needed on the system but that the United States cannot unilaterally disarm.
 
One option that Obama has talked about taking is allowing some bulk phone data collected by intelligence agencies to be kept by private companies, instead of by the U.S. government.
 
The reasoning is that this would give Americans more confidence that their privacy is being protected. Critics of this idea say it would make data less, rather than more, secure.
 
Obama is also considering a ban on U.S. eavesdropping on leaders of allied nations after reports that the N.S.A. monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone triggered outrage in Germany. U.S. officials have said they are not now tapping Merkel's cell phone and will not do so in the future.
 
Administration officials said Obama's meetings this week will allow interested parties to weigh in on his decision-making and voice their opinions.
 
Two sets of congressional committees have come up with diametrically opposite proposals for dealing with the telephone metadata issue.
 
Judiciary Committee chairs Patrick Leahy in the Senate and Jim Sensenbrenner in the House of Representatives have introduced bills which would eliminate bulk metadata collection by the N.S.A. entirely. However, the House and Senate intelligence committees have included provisions in their spending bills that would keep metadata collection authorization precisely as it is.
 
This is in spite of the conclusion by Obama's outside advisory panel that since 2007, bulk telephone metadata collection by N.S.A. had produced “no instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome” of a terrorism investigation “would have been different” if the metadata had not been collected.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More