NSA review panel will propose overhaul to spying
A draft proposal by a presidential review panel will recommend several action items to overhaul the National Security Agency and its surveillance tactics, according to officials familiar with the proposal.
The recommendations would limit how the agency collects and retains information obtained largely through electronic data mining. If the recommendations are enacted, the NSA would revert from military leadership to civilian.
The panel’s draft report also asserts the need for increasing the standards of allowing the NSA to access confidential and personal data. According to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story on Thursday, the report will be submitted to the White House on Thursday. The White House denied comment.
The NSA’s classified techniques and practices were made public when Edward Snowden, a private contractor, fled to Hong Kong with classified documents he’d collected. Snowden became an international fugitive, seeking and eventually being granted asylum in Russia for one year. The American government wants him returned to the United States to stand trial for leaking classified documents.
In a series of stories by The Guardian stemming from Snowden’s release of classified documents, the NSA’s practices of collecting American phone records and searching electronic records without a warrant came under intense public scrutiny.
Legislation introduced in the aftermath by Senate Judiciary Chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Chairman of the House Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., seeks to end most of the NSA’s bulk collection of American’s phone records while strengthening search warrant laws. The panel’s recommendations align closely with the Leahy-Sensenbrenner proposal, according to senior officials.
The fallout from the Snowden leaks continues. Allies of the United States like Germany and Brazil reacted harshly to the news that NSA had conducted what they deemed illegal spying activities of its governments. Snowden became a symbol to the cause of public information and civil liberties, heralded by people around the world as a hero, not a traitor.
More than 140,000 people have signed a White House petition calling for Snowden’s pardon. Earlier this month, the European Parliament voted to formally invite Snowden to testify on NSA spying, according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Snowden was named person of the year by The Switch, a technology and political landing page of The Washington Post, saying Time magazine’s person of the year, Pope Francis, did not influence the world as much as Snowden.
“By leaking details about the clandestine programs in use by the NSA and its surveillance partners around the world, Snowden has ignited a fierce debate about the meaning of civil liberties in the 21sty century and abroad,” The Post’s Andrea Peterson wrote. “In story after story, the public is learning the true breadth of digital surveillance permeating the Internet age.”
United States government officials claim Snowden’s leaks put American soldiers and government operatives at great danger while giving terrorists critical information about how to avoid capture and surveillance.