The White House wants the National Security Agency to get out of the business of sweeping up and storing vast amounts of data on Americans' phone calls. And a proposal to have the government seek information from phone companies' existing records satisfies public concerns about privacy, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
The Obama administration is expected this week to propose that Congress overhaul the electronic surveillance program to end the government's practice of collecting the phone records of millions of Americans and holding them for five years so the data can be searched for national security purposes. Obama commented Tuesday in the Netherlands at the close of a summit on nuclear security.
The White House proposal is similar to legislation members of the House Intelligence Committee introduced Tuesday. Both Obama and the chairman of the intelligence committee have said the existing phone records collection program receives plenty of oversight and the data is secure. But the White House and House intelligence committee are responding to public concerns about the NSA counterterrorism program.
Details of the government's secret phone records collection program were disclosed last year by former NSA contract systems analyst Edward Snowden.