January 17, 2014
Six months after Edward Snowden began leaking the NSA’s secrets, President Obama has agreed that the way America spies needs to change. But when it comes to the degree of that change, the White House has a long way to go towards pleasing its critics.
In a closely watched address Friday, Obama laid out a plan for reforms to the National Security Agency following Snowden’s leaks revealing the details of NSA surveillance programs that have outraged privacy advocates and some U.S. allies. In his speech, Obama responded with a plan to put greater limits on the use of phone metadata collected from millions of Americans, to add more privacy advocacy to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court debates over the use of data collected on Americans, and to limit the duration of the secrecy around the FBI’s National Security Letter requests for private data from communications companies.<
"I believe it is important that the capability this program is designed to meet is preserved," Obama said of the phone metadata collection program, which has been perhaps the most controversial of Snowden's revelations. "But having said that, I believe critics are right to point out that that without appropriate safeguards this program could be used to yield more information about our private lives and to open the door to more intrusive bulk collection programs in the future."