White House to propose overhaul in NSA phone records data collection
(CNN) — The White House is preparing to introduce legislation that would end part of the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records data collection program, a senior administration official told CNN.
“As the President made clear in his speech on these issues in January, he directed his administration to explore all options available for ending the government’s role in holding this metadata while still maintaining as many capabilities of the program as possible,” the official said Tuesday.
In his January speech, President Barack Obama outlined a series of steps — some immediate and some requiring time to work out, possibly with Congress — that would change some aspects of the NSA collection of phone records and other information but generally leave intact the core and function of existing programs.
“The President … will put forward a sound approach to ensuring the government no longer collects or holds this data, but still ensures that the government has access to the information it needs to meet the national security needs his team has identified,” the official said.
The administration has been having ongoing consultations with Congress, including the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, according to the official.
In a meeting last week with tech company chief executives, “the President reiterated his administration’s commitment to taking steps that can give people greater confidence that their rights are being protected while preserving important tools that keep us safe,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting, which was closed to reporters.
Those attending the White House meeting included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, CEOs Reed Hastings of Netflix; Drew Houston of Dropbox; Dr. Alexander Karp of Palantir; Aaron Levie of Box and Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google.