WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama will call on the National Security Administration to end its control of Americans’ phone data during a speech at the Justice Department Friday morning, a source tells the Associated Press.
A senior administration official says Obama will not say who will control the phone data from millions of Americans. The president is expected to request intelligence officials consult Congress about where the date will be maintained.
It has previously been recommended by a presidential commission that the data be held by phone companies or a third party.
The president is scheduled to speak at the Justice Department at 11 a.m.
A secretive U.S. spy court recently ruled again that the NSA can keep collecting every American’s telephone records every day, in the midst of dueling decisions in two other federal courts about whether the surveillance program is constitutional.
Earlier this month, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court renewed the NSA phone collection program, said Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Such periodic requests are somewhat formulaic but required since the program started in 2006.
The latest approval was the first since two conflicting court decisions about whether the program is lawful and since a presidential advisory panel recommended that the NSA no longer be allowed to collect and store the phone records and search them without obtaining separate court approval for each search.
In a statement, Turner said that 15 judges on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on 36 occasions over the past seven years have approved the NSA’s collection of U.S. phone records as lawful.
Turner said U.S. intelligence agencies would be willing to modify the phone records surveillance program to provide additional privacy and civil liberties protections as long as it was still operationally beneficial. He said the Obama administration was carefully evaluating the advisory panel’s recent recommendations.
Judges sitting on the secretive spy court have repeatedly approved the program for 90-day periods.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul has said he would filed suit against the Obama administration over the data-collection policies of the NSA. On his website, Paul urged Americans to join the lawsuit, in his words, “to stop Barack Obama’s NSA from snooping on the American people.”
In an interview on the Fox News show “Hannity,” the Kentucky Republican tells host Eric Bolling he believes everyone in the U.S. with a cellphone would be eligible to join the suit as a class action.
Paul says that people who want to join the suit are telling the government that it can’t have access to emails and phone records without permission or without a specific warrant.
Paul says the lead lawyer in the suit is Virginia’s former attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli.
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