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US Panel to Review Intelligence Gathering and Privacy

FILE - President Barack Obama during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 9, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama is directing his national intelligence chief to review how agencies gather information on security threats, while making sure the public trusts what the government is doing.

Obama wrote in a memo to James Clapper that it is important to assess how technological advances have changed intelligence gathering.

Clapper's Review Group will look at whether the United States uses new technology in a way that protects national security and advances foreign policy while protecting privacy.

Many U.S. citizens and lawmakers were outraged when former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency gathers their telephone and Internet records. The NSA also tracks overseas communications.

Obama said at a news conference last week that the United States must be more transparent. He said he is confident the surveillance programs are not being abused, but that Americans must have trust in them.

The NSA says its surveillance foiled several terrorist plots. Snowden fled to Hong Kong and now has temporary asylum in Russia. The United States wants him back for trial.