The 300-page report unveiled 46 recommendations to reshape US surveillance policy following explosive revelations by fugitive intelligence contractor
The report, by a five-man panel of legal and intelligence experts, was commissioned by President
There is no guarantee the president will accept the non-binding recommendations: but he will consider his next steps over his end-of-year vacation in
The panel urged reforms of a secret national security court that oversees clandestine surveillance operations and an end to bulk retention of telephone "metadata" by the
Mass collection of records
Mass collection of billions of telephone records could still go on -- but the "metadata" should not be kept by the NSA but in private hands, to permit specific queries by the agency or law enforcement, if national security is deemed at risk.
The NSA currently pours over telephone and Internet data to seek patterns of communications between extremists.
Twelve years after
"It is now time to step back and take stock," the report said.
The international community and the German government were outraged after the US admitted to tapping German Chancellor
Review board member
But he called for mechanisms that were more transparent and have more independent oversight to give the public a new sense of trust.
Throughout, the report argued that a new equilibrium needed to be found between national security, and privacy and individual Constitutional rights.
It steered away from calling for outright curbs on gathering intelligence on foreign leaders, following embarrassing revelations that US spies had snooped on German Chancellor
But it said US spy chiefs should be forced to justify surveillance on world leaders to the president and his aides.
The panel called for limits on national security letters issued by the
The panel said a secret court handling foreign intelligence requests should have a public interest advocate so that it can hear more than only the government's arguments.
And it agreed with major technology companies which have been seeking to release more information on the numbers of national security requests they receive, and said the government should release numbers of its own.
The release of the report comes amid deepening political pressure on the
Snowden's revelations, according to intelligence chiefs, inflicted significant damage on US clandestine operations against terror groups, while deeply embarrassing the Obama administration.
A federal judge in
Some civil liberties advocates welcomed the survey.
"This report is a clarion call for intelligence reform, powerfully boosting the credibility and momentum of sweeping, fundamental change," said Democratic Senator
But others said that it may not go far enough.
"It is less clear that private providers holding the same data would be anything more than bulk collection by proxy, a process that could expose massive amounts of private information to the prying eyes of government agencies beyond just the NSA," said the
Soiurce: AFP via
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