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Will Obama Reform the NSA?

Foreign Policy reports that “when President Barack Obama gives his much-anticipated speech on NSA surveillance Friday, he’s unlikely to seize the opportunity to rein in the agency’s vast surveillance programs. Instead, he will punt. Of the 43 recommendations from a panel that reviewed the agency’s programs, Obama is expected to embrace very few, according to U.S. officials and news reports, leaving the harder task of long-term surveillance reform to Congress and the courts.”

“Intelligence officials, as well as privacy advocates and lawmakers who have met with White House aides in recent days, now expect that the NSA will continue to collect and retain the phone records of all Americans. That’s the outcome that NSA officials have wanted since the program was revealed in June 2013 by Edward Snowden, and one that the review panel urged the president to avoid. Obama may tweak the program — limiting the amount of time the NSA can keep those records or how broadly it can search in the database where they’re stored. But it’s hard to see the president’s answer to what was undoubtedly the most controversial of all the surveillance programs as anything but a victory for the NSA.”

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