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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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