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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid