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Reports on NSA Surveillance Continue as Obama Talks With Privacy and Civil Liberties Board

US President Barack Obama listens during a bilateral meeting with French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of the G8 summit in the Lough Erne resort near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on June 18, 2013. Russia and the US agreed at the G8 summit to push for Syria peace talks, but Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama made clear their deep differences over the conflict. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald released another story Thursday night based on leaks from Ed Snowden, the ex-CIA worker who provided information to Greenwald that led to his bombshell report earlier in the month that the National Security Agency has been surveilling the phone and internet records of millions of Americans. The report provides two documents that give further clarity about exactly what the NSA has been collecting and what they are doing with it. The documents show that FISA courts allow the government to use data collected “inadvertently” on U.S. citizens without a warrant.

The Fisa court's oversight role has been referenced many times by Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials as they have sought to reassure the public about surveillance, but the procedures approved by the court have never before been publicly disclosed.

The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.

The Atlantic points out that the documents show that the claim that spying on US citizens isn’t’ allowed, is misleading at best. 

The President met with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Friday to address public concerns about the government’s sweeping surveillance efforts recently come to light. David Medine, the board’s chairman, told the AP that members urged Obama to give the American public a clear understanding of the reasoning behind the NSA’s secret surveillance system.

They stressed “that every effort be made to publicly provide the legal rationale for the programs in order to enhance the public discussion and debate about the legality and propriety of the country’s counterterrorism efforts,” Medine said in an interview.

Obama has insisted the programs are subject to intense judicial and congressional oversight and says he’s confident his administration is striking the proper balance between national security and privacy. Still, in an attempt to show Obama is serious about welcoming a public discussion about the proper balance, the White House said Obama and his aides would start meeting with a range of interested parties to talk digital privacy — starting with Friday’s meeting.

“He certainly believes that we need to evaluate them consistently and debate them and make judgments about how we’re striking that balance,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

On 'Real News' Friday the panel discussed the latest report from Greenwald, Obama's meeting with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and Michael Hasting’s lastest piece at Buzzfeed on how Democrats have altered their criticism on government surveillance since the last administration.

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