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Decisions, Decisions: Obama Eyes NSA Spy Options

09-08-2014
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President Barack Obama has vowed to reform the National Security Agency's controversial phone spying program.

The data collection has been a public relations nightmare for the White House and possibly illegal.

Under the current program, the NSA collects millions of U.S. phone records from phone companies AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

"I believe we need a new approach," Obama said in January. "I am, therefore, ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists, and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata."

***Is the Obama administration's willingness to reform the NSA a sign of greater transparency? Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead, author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, answered this and more, on CBN Newswatch, Feb. 26.

Faced with an international firestorm, lawyers for the White House have given the president four options for restructuring the program, ranging from dropping it altogether to running it through telephone companies.

In January, privacy advocates said reforming only the telephone spying was not enough.

"The NSA surveillance programs are so out of control in so many areas that there is a lot of low hanging fruit to try to make them a little better," Cindy Cohn, legal director with Electronic Frontier Foundation, said.

"But I don't think we should misunderstand the size of the problem," she warned. "The NSA has overstepped its bounds with regard to innocent people's privacy in a whole bunch of different areas.

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