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Lawmakers say Obama surveillance idea won’t work

January 20, 2014 • National News


In this Jan. 17, 2014, photo, President Barack Obama Talks about National Security Agency surveillance at the Justice Department in Washington. Obama’s orders to change some U.S. surveillance practices put the burden on Congress to deal with a national security controversy that has alarmed Americans and outraged foreign allies. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A chief element of President Barack Obama’s attempt to overhaul U.S. surveillance will not work, leaders of Congress’ intelligence committees said Sunday, pushing back against the idea that the government should cede control of how Americans’ phone records are stored.

Obama, under pressure to calm the controversy over government spying, said Friday he wants bulk phone data stored outside the government to reduce the risk that the records will be abused. The president said he will require a special judge’s advance approval before intelligence agencies can examine someone’s data and will force analysts to keep their searches closer to suspected terrorists or organizations.

“And I think that’s a very difficult thing,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday. “Because the whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place.”

Under the surveillance program, the NSA gathers phone numbers called and the length of conversations, but not the content of the calls. Obama said the NSA sometimes needs to Login to read more

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