White House gets NSA fix recommendation report

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 13, 2013 

The White House said Friday its received a report from the group President Barack Obama created to review and recommend changes to the U.S.'s sweeping and controversial surveillance programs.

The president's "Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies," submitted its report to Obama Friday, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

The report, she said, "looks at how, in light of advancements in technology, the United States can employ its signals intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, including the need to maintain public trust and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosure."

Hayden said Obama was grateful to the group's members -- Richard Clarke, Michael Morell, Geoffrey Stone, Cass Sunstein and Peter Swire – "for devoting themselves to this effort over the past several months and providing thoughtful input for the administration."

She said the report's recommendations would be considered as the White House concludes an ongoing interagency review of intelligence collection.

But she made it plain that the White House is not bound by the report's conclusions, saying the White House would review the group’s report and its more than 40 recommendations in the next few weeks as it decides which recommendations it will implement, which might need further study and which it would "choose not to pursue."

The WHite House has divulged few detals about potential fixes: The review group provided an interim report to National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco in November, but it's not been released to the public

Hayden said the White House would "continue consultations" with Congress over the issue and expects its internal review to be completed in January -- at which time Obama would outline his findings. She said the review group’s full report would be made public at that time.

Obama created the advisory group last summer to recommend fixes in the wake of criticism over the National Security Agency's spying program. Obama expects to receive recommendations as well from an independent organization within the executive branch with presidentially nominated members.

 

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