US to keep up spying program with new safeguards: Report

Last Updated: Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 02:43

Washington: A White House review will conclude that a sweeping US spy agency program to collect data on telephone calls and Internet use should continue but with new privacy safeguards, reports said on Friday.

The New York Times also reported that President Barack Obama`s study would recommend making public the privacy protections foreign citizens can expect when their telephone or Internet records are gathered by the National Security Agency.

Separately, a US official said the White House had also decided to maintain the "dual-hatted" arrangement which sees a single military officer head the NSA eavesdropping service and US cyber warfare operations.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, said the task force would recommend that records of phone calls held by the NSA after the massive data mining operations should be held by telephone companies and not the spy agency.

The report comes as the administration finalises a review ordered by Obama into the NSA`s sweeping worldwide data and phone record collection, following revelations by fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The Times said that the committee conducting the review would recommend that top White House officials directly examine the list of foreign leaders whose communications are monitored by the NSA.

The protection will be introduced in the wake of a furore over revelations that US spies eavesdropped on the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Times also said that the White House review would create a body of legal professionals who would argue against lawyers for the NSA over espionage operations in the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees surveillance.

White House officials declined to comment on the Times report, saying that the review was not yet finalised.

But officials said that the study into NSA operations in the wake of the Snowden affair was still expected to be delivered to the president by Sunday.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden also said that the White House had decided to maintain the current "dual-hatted" arrangement that sees a top military officer head the NSA and US Cyber Command.

Some critics of the current system had argued that the NSA and the military`s cyber warfare command should be headed by different officials to avoid too much clandestine power residing in one official.


First Published: Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 02:43

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