January 17, 2014 -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday will unveil possible changes to controversial government surveillance techniques revealed by former security contractor Edward Snowden.
President Obama's much-anticipated speech at the Department of Justice will respond to the 46 recommendations made by a special review panel created by the White House in August.
It is not clear which recommendations Mr. Obama will accept, but analysts expect modest steps to improve oversight and transparency to help boost domestic and international confidence in U.S. spying activities.
The leaks by Snowden - a former contractor for the National Security Agency - have prompted months of revelations on the clandestine U.S. spy programs that indiscriminately pick up phone records and monitor Internet and other activity.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that Snowden's leaks were damaging, but he insisted that Mr. Obama views the debates sparked by them as "legitimate."
The NSA says Snowden stole 1.7 million documents before fleeing to asylum in Russia. American authorities have sought his extradition to stand trial in the United States on espionage charges.
Privacy advocates say the programs are intrusive and unnecessary, and argue that Snowden is a whistleblower who should be granted amnesty or a plea bargain, and be allowed to return home.
White House officials say the surveillance methods are crucial for protecting against terrorists and has argued that the existing frameworks are enough to ensure privacy of Americans is not violated.
(c) 2012 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.
Original headline: Obama to Announce Decisions on NSA Spying
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