Report on NSA changes due

Last updated 08:35 19/12/2013

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The White House will today make public a broad surveillance review board report recommending changes to the National Security Agency, including a proposal that the NSA's collection of Americans' telephone records be stored by telephone companies or another third party, not the agency.

That is according to a current and a former senior Obama administration official, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss the report by name. The White House said it would release the full review board report on Wednesday (local time), weeks earlier than it originally planned.

The White House said the report includes 46 recommendations for modifying the nation's vast surveillance network after the scope of the government spying was revealed earlier this year. President Barack Obama is under no obligation to accept the review board's requirements and is conducting his own internal review, which is expected to be completed in January.

According to the former administration official, the task force report recommends raising the bar on how much US data the NSA can acquire and how long it can be kept. It also calls for new limits on how analysts can use the records and recommends annual reports to the White House on any spying on foreign leaders, the official said.

Obama met with the review board at the White House on Wednesday, just days after members submitted their report to the president. The group worked under the Director of National Intelligence and included officials who previously worked for the Obama administration, including former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.

The DNI's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology held no public meetings and met several times with business and privacy groups out of the range of the media and public. DNI head James Clapper exempted the panel from standard federal requirements that it work transparently.

The White House had originally said it would release the review board report in January, after Obama announced publicly what changes he planned to make to the NSA. Officials said they decided to release the report early because its contents had been mischaracterised in news reports.

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- AP

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