Washington (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama will unveil reforms to the country’s spying activities on January 17, his spokesman said Friday, following a review of the National Security Agency (NSA).
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama’s remarks next Friday would show the “outcomes of the work that has been done on the review process.”
The White House said on Thursday that the president was nearing the end of his soul searching about U.S. spying reforms as he met lawmakers who oversee the intelligence community.
Obama met the delegation in Washington as part of consultations with players on all sides of the debate on how best to balance U.S. security and privacy rights, following revelations of massive spy agency snooping by fugitive contractor Edward Snowden.
The meeting included several prominent critics of NSA phone and data sweeps. Obama says revelations over the program by Snowden have undermined public confidence in the work of the U.S. intelligence community and reforms are needed.
Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who was one of the lawmakers in the meeting, called on the president to explain why such vast data mining programs — which spy chiefs say help piece together links between terror suspects worldwide — were necessary.
Senior U.S. officials have indicated Obama is considering whether to permit the programs to continue while requiring data to be held either by technology companies or a third party instead of the NSA. Intelligence officers would have to obtain court permission to access the phone records.
AFP Photo/Jim Watson