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Obama Expects Final Oversight Review for NSA Data Gathering by December


"Within 60 days of its establishment,the Review Group will brief their interim findings to me through the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)..."

US President Barack Obama reacts to a missed putt on the first green at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, August 11, 2013 during the Obama family vacation to Martha's Vineyard. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

By the end of the year, a review of the National Security Agency's data gathering will be completed, President Barack Obama said Monday in a presidential memorandum to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

"Within 60 days of its establishment,the Review Group will brief their interim findings to me through the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Review Group will provide a final report and recommendations to me through the DNI no later than December 15, 2013,” Obama said in the memorandum to Clapper.

OAK BLUFFS, MA - AUGUST 11: U.S. President Barack Obama chips towards the green on the first hole at Farm Neck Golf Club on the first day of his vacation August 11, 2013 in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. His foursome included aide Marvin Nicholson, White House chef Sam Kass and Robert Wolf, a Wall Street consultant. The First Family is on vacation in Martha's Vineyard from August 10-18th. Credit: Getty Images

Obama first brought up establishing the review panel at a Friday news conference as one of the four steps he was taking to buttress public trust in the NSA's data on phone and email communications that was revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, now a fugitive in Russia.

"I am directing you to establish a Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (Review Group)," the Obama memo to Clapper says.

"The Review Group will assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust,” the memorandum continues.

Obama issued the memorandum while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard. He met Monday morning with National Security Advisor Susan Rice, according to the White House press pool report.

During the Friday news conference, Obama also announced he planned to work with Congress on sections of the USA Patriot Act, for which the administration has justified the data gathering in absence of a warrant. He further talked about reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts and ways to make the intelligence community more transparent while maintaining the national security balance.

Revelations about the NSA data gathering program of phone and e-mail communications sparked outrage from both the left and the right, but also had defenders from both sides of the political aisle.

Last month, Clapper  apologized for telling Congress earlier this year that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans, a response he later admitted was “clearly erroneous.”


Featured image via AFP/Getty


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