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 Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham, offers analysis -- audio above.
In giving a history of US spying and NSA, Obama says "even the United States proved not to be immune to the abuse of surveillance."— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) January 17, 2014
Obama says he doesn't want to "dwell" on Snowden, but says that the disclosures have emerged have shed "more heat than light."— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) January 17, 2014
Obama vows to curb the appetite of the NSA to gather data - will no longer be "indiscriminately reviewing" records.— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) January 17, 2014
Steps/"hops" for surveillance down to two. Can no longer gather data on someone who called someone who called someone who called a suspect.— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) January 17, 2014
Key element -- for now, NSA will keep metadata, but Obama calling for Congress to assess whether it should stay in private hands.— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) January 17, 2014
Obama says US will no longer spy on foreign leaders - "unless there is a compelling national security purpose." Does not elaborate criteria.— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) January 17, 2014