Lawyers to Obama: You Have 4 Options to Reform NSA
Scrapping phone-snooping program is one of them
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2014 4:35 AM CST
Updated Feb 26, 2014 7:42 AM CST
The National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(Newser) – President Obama asked White House lawyers last month to come up with ways to reform the National Security Administration's phone-surveillance program and they have delivered four options, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal. One option—and probably the least likely to be adopted—is scrapping the program altogether, while the other three involve taking the vast amount of phone data currently being gathered out of the NSA's hands.

Sources say the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department have presented Obama with the following options for shifting the phone data:

  • Having phone companies retain the data. Under this option, the NSA would contact phone companies when it needed specific searches of phone records. Telecommunications firms, however, are firmly opposed to this plan.
  • Having another government agency retain the data. The FBI has been spoken of as a possibility for this role, though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is also being considered.
  • Having a non-government, non-phone company agency retain the data. This option is also seen as unlikely. Privacy groups say any such agency would become a mere extension of the NSA. Obama said last month that any such third party would be carrying out "what is essentially a government function with more expense, more legal ambiguity, and a doubtful impact on public confidence that their privacy is being protected," the Wire notes.

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Showing 3 of 107 comments
Feb 28, 2014 4:45 AM CST
Feb 26, 2014 10:48 PM CST
Big brother is watching us all the time and will continue to for the life times of anyone reading this. Sleep well all.
Feb 26, 2014 6:31 PM CST
Schneier says just break it up it's doing more harm to Internet integrity & encryption security the way it is now. If they do nothing after a while banks will be hacked from anywhere on the planet & nobody will have a clue who hacked 'em. Stuff like this is becoming a regular occurrence as more & more bad guys find the back-doors the NSA has put into encryption/hardware so they can get in/out w/o any difficulty: great future for online commerce the way things are headed now with all the damage to online encryption so far. I think Bruce is on the right track. Divide it up & put the parts into different agencies, give certain operations it handles now priority over other functions.