By Cecilia Kang and Ellen Nakashima The Washington Post WASHINGTON Leaders of the nation's biggest technology firms warned President Barack Obama during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Tuesday that National Security Agency spying programs are damaging their reputations and could harm the broader economy. Cisco Systems Inc. has said it is already seeing customers, especially those overseas, back away from U.S.-branded technology after documents revealed the NSA enlisted tech firms and secretly tapped into their data hubs around the world as the agency pursued terrorism suspects. Other companies, such as IBM , AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. , are facing angry shareholders, some of whom have filed lawsuits demanding that the companies disclose participation in NSA intelligence programs. Silicon Valley has been a critical driver of the economic recovery and has long represented American ingenuity globally. Many of these companies say they are still trying to assess the damage caused by documentation of their work with intelligence officials, as revealed by former NSA employee Edward Snowden . But some shareholders say Silicon Valley has been slow to recognize the reputational crisis that is developing around the world for these companies. " Verizon and AT&T are not managing this crisis effectively," said Jonas Kron , director of shareholder advocacy at Trillium Asset Management , a $1.3 billion investment fund. "Now is the time for these companies to demonstrate that they will protect user privacy, because it is in the interest of everyone - investors, citizens, our nation and the companies." The morning meeting at the White House , held in the Roosevelt Room , took on added import given a federal judge's ruling Monday that the NSA's program to conduct broad phone surveillance appears to be unconstitutional. That, along with the outcry from Silicon Valley and civil liberty advocates, some of whom belong to Obama's own party, is increasing pressure on the administration to curb NSA surveillance efforts.
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