Obama Calls for Curbed NSA Powers, but Keeps Data in Hands of Government

Friday, January 17, 2014


Coming on the heels of the Edward Snowden leaks, and a 300-page set of recommendations from a panel of presidential advisers, President Obama announced Friday a set of recommendations to change the way the NSA collects and stores data. Obama announced he is not ready to move data out of government hands, but is asking Congress to determine whether the so-called "metadata" should be stored by private companies, a third party, or remain with the NSA.

Obama announced that the government will no longer collect data more than two steps, or "hops," away from the target. In other words, the government cannot gather data on someone who called someone who called someone who called a suspect.

The president also asked that an outside panel have oversight over the private FISA court, and established a process for analysts to receive approval from the court that there is a "reasonable articulable suspicion" that an American's phone number is linked to terrorism, before their data can be queried. Obama also ended the practice of spying on foreign leaders without a specific national security purpose. But the White House has not published a list of which countries fall under that criteria. 

On the Brian Lehrer Show, Karen GreenbergDirector of the Center on National Security at Fordham, offers analysis -- audio above.


Karen Greenberg

Comments [17]

Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Nick from Grammar Nazi Land

No, I know the difference between you and you're. It just doesn't matter because the meaning is clear and I'm typing fast. Spellings, grammur and such don't much mattter on a message board, twaht. However, when someone uses a word they "think" they know the meaning of in a way that shows they clearly don't and never did because they never bothered to learn them that word in the furst place that is pretty much the definition of ignerance, i.e not even knowin'.

Jan. 17 2014 12:41 PM
Nick from UWS

"Mr. Bad from NYC
@ The Ignorant Truth from Becky
My god your ignorant of even basic word usage."

Time to look in the mirror, Mr. Bad from NYC. You seem to be ignorant of the basic word usage difference between "your" and "you're".

Jan. 17 2014 12:29 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ The Ignorant Truth from Becky

My god your ignorant of even basic word usage. "et al" is and abbreviation used to denote a long list of PROPER NAMES of PERSONS. Like authors or defendants. Not NOUNS. Jesus god...

Jan. 17 2014 12:22 PM
The Truth from Becky

Surveillance did not start and will not stop with the Obama administration and Snowden is a criminal, traitor et al. Period.

Jan. 17 2014 12:15 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

WOW. Am I psychic? Going to go buy a lotto ticket right now!

"Don't be such an ingenue. Pretty soon Obama will announce toothless, secret "reforms", Congress will appoint some equally unimpressive oversight commissioners and we'll be back where we started with a "victory" for all sides. You don't see that coming? Were you born yesterday?" - Mr. Bad 8/12/13

Jan. 17 2014 12:12 PM
Jeff from Bushwick

Did Obama just privatise total data collection? The solution is to create a Blackwater NSA?

Jan. 17 2014 11:55 AM
Robert from NYC

Phew, I'm tired of that voice. I've had it, Enjoy the day folks, I'm going to WQXR. Bye.

Jan. 17 2014 11:54 AM
Robert from NYC

Can you turn this off Brian? Can you let us decide if we want to hear this? There is no reason why everything a president says or does has to covered by the press. This is (supposed to be) a democracy not a monarchy whereby we are required to listen to every spew that the president feels compelled to make. He's another citizen and that was to be made clear in the Constitution.

Jan. 17 2014 11:53 AM
The Truth from Becky

Surveillance did not start and will not stop with the Obama administration and Snowden is a criminal, traitor et al. Period.

Jan. 17 2014 11:45 AM
Robert from NYC

We heard you all the other times you said it and we got it the first time. Thing is, man, we don't want you to know who we're calling or who's calling us. Baloney pure and simple. For people who do this kind of work you stick at it. There are far better ways to go about finding out who you should be after, not the entire country/world!!

Jan. 17 2014 11:44 AM

I cannot believe he maintains the position that Snowden is a criminal, when he acknowledges that reform to the NSA and intelligence programs is sorely needed. I understand that the US doesn't want to see a march of intelligence officers out of the shadows with classified documents in hand, but he could at the very least acknowledge that this important discussion is happening because of the extraordinary sacrifice and effort of Snowden.

Jan. 17 2014 11:41 AM
Robert from NYC

HA HA HA, Right on Nick you got my thumbs up. Just got out of the shower (hoping this was finished) with the intention to say just what you wrote. I'm tired of listening to this man lie to me (us). He is the real Slick Willy not Bill Clinton, well maybe both. It is time for some new parties or at least new people.

Jan. 17 2014 11:41 AM
Nick from UWS

The bullshit is already flying.

Jan. 17 2014 11:30 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

No matter where the data is stored, it is still hackable by those capable of doing so. It therefore should be DESTROYED.

My concern now is that if we put a stop to electronic communication surveillance, they'll next be going through our snail mail. On the other hand, this could be just the financial boost the USPS needs: We give up on electronic communication and go low-tech and buy stamps. :-)

Jan. 17 2014 11:16 AM

NSA Surveillance is must end, but won't by this president. No argument Brian come down on the right side w/o making it a devil's advocate issue.

Jan. 17 2014 11:15 AM
oscar from ny

..reminds me of when ppl are jealous of their partners and their frustration on finding out if they're being cheated on is accompanied by the search and seizure of phone email and even live spying of the victim..many times resulting in death or harm...these politicians want to exclude the public on their endevours but I also recall president Kennedy's speech when he wanted to explore the moon that the public should be included and not treated as lower or incompetent in building a stronger country like communist Russia was doing at that time..

Jan. 17 2014 10:55 AM
bura from ny

Amounts to little other than a bureaucratic rubber stamp.
the liberal left in this country deserves more from this "first" president.

Jan. 17 2014 10:32 AM

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