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President Obama To Propose Changes To NSA Programs

12:00 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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David Jackson, USA TODAY

It looks like President Obama will propose changes to National Security Agency surveillance programs before his independent privacy board issues its own recommendations.

The Obama-created Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which met with the president on Wednesday, said in a statement it will issue its report in late January or early February.

Obama is scheduled to outline NSA changes before his Jan. 28 State of the Union message, and perhaps as early as next week, aides say.

In a statement, the administration said Obama listened to the privacy board's views. Obama "noted he looked forward to the release of their report, and made clear that it will be factored into the Administration's thinking as we move forward," the statement said.

Obama speaks with congressional lawmakers about the NSA on Thursday.

The president also met Wednesday with intelligence-gathering officials. The administration described that meeting as "an important chance for the President to hear directly from his team as he begins to make final decisions about how we move forward with key intelligence collection programs."

While Obama can use executive authority to make some changes, others may require congressional approval.

In a statement, the privacy board said it "will make recommendations for legislative and program reform."

"The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board members met with Obama today to discuss how to alter the National Security Agency's collection and use of bulk phone records, such as numbers dialed and call durations. They also talked about operations of the secret court overseeing surveillance. ...

"A separate White House advisory board recommended in a Dec. 18 report limits on the NSA, including prohibiting the agency from collecting and storing billions of phone records. Instead, the data should be held by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), AT&T Inc. (T) and other U.S. carriers or another third party and only accessed by the NSA with a court warrant, the panel said."

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