Panel delivers US surveillance report: official
By Stephen Collinson, AFP
December 15, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
WASHINGTON--A review panel handed U.S. President Barack Obama a report Friday on surveillance by U.S. spy agencies following explosive revelations on vast phone and Internet sweeps by fugitive Edward Snowden.
The report contains more than 40 recommendations the White House will consider, and Obama will deliver a speech on the subject after a full-scale review of U.S. eavesdropping activity concludes in January, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
The report is said to recommend a continuation of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs, which have alarmed U.S. allies and civil liberties groups, but with some new privacy safeguards.
The White House will study the five-man panel's work and decide which recommendations to adopt, which need further study, and which to discard.
The report looks at how Washington can use its intelligence capability to guard national security while maintaining public trust.
Obama said last week that he would introduce some restraints on the NSA following the review.
A flurry of intelligence leaks from Snowden, currently in temporary asylum in Russia, lifted the lid on a vast global spying network.
Tens of thousands of documents leaked by Snowden to The Guardian newspaper and other media outlets have detailed the scope of the NSA's shadowy activities.
Snowden's revelations show that the NSA has systematically raked in metadata and information from millions of emails and phone calls, some of it about U.S. citizens.
The leaks have provided a rolling embarrassment for the White House and damaged U.S. national security, while the scale of the eavesdropping has shocked and angered U.S. allies.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in excerpts of an interview to be aired Sunday, said he could guarantee that “neither the president nor I believe that some of this gathering of information that has taken place in very particular instances and against particular high-level personnel is appropriate.”
“I think the president will speak to that very clearly in the days ahead,” he told Andres Oppenheimer of CNN en Espanol.
The New York Times reported that the review panel would recommend making public the privacy protections foreign citizens can expect when the NSA gathers their phone or Internet records.
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