President Obama will unveil his plans for reforming the National Security Agency in a speech Jnan. 17, the White House announced.
The speech will come in the wake of a report issued last month by the president’s review group calling for sweeping changes to the government’s surveillance practices, including forcing the NSA to give up its database of records on all U.S. phone calls.
“We will not harm our national security,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said last Friday, announcing the date of the speech, but providing no other details about its time or location.
When the leaks by Edward Snowden first revealed new details about the scope of NSA surveillance last year, Obama argued that no one’s privacy rights were being violated and that any changes should be focused on improving trust in the NSA. But he has faced mounting pressure from civil-liberties groups, tech companies, and members of both parties for more-dramatic changes.
Obama discussed potential changes to the NSA with intelligence officials on Wednesday and key lawmakers on Thursday. White House staffers additionally met with privacy advocates on Thursday and are scheduled to meet with executives from tech companies on Friday.
The president could enact some changes through executive action, while other reforms will likely require congressional action.
In addition to changes to the NSA’s phone-records database, other reforms could include creating a privacy advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which currently hears arguments only from the government in favor of surveillance.
Obama could also announce changes to how the government handles the information of foreigners.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said after Thursday’s sit-down with Obama that “the problem cannot be solved by presidential fiat.” Sensenbrenner, the author of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, is pushing his Freedom Act, which would rein in the NSA’s domestic-surveillance programs more tightly than what most observers expect the president will offer.
Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mark Udall, D-Colo. — two of the NSA’s most vocal critics — also met with Obama on Thursday. They along with Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., sent Obama a letter Friday urging for Obama to act swiftly and decisively to curtail the NSA’s collection of domestic phone records and to reform the FISA court. All serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“We believe you have the authority to make many of these changes now, and we urge you to do so with reasonable haste to protect both our national security and the personal rights and liberties of U.S. citizens,” the senators wrote.
What We're Following See More »
"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.