Obama Announces NSA Programs Overhaul – 17 March 2014

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President Barack Obama announced as expected on Friday a major overhaul to some of the National Security Agency’s most disputed surveillance operations seven months after they was first exposed, reining in the metadata collection program among others.

Effective immediately, the president said, NSA officials must obtain court permission in order to access the government’s archive of telephone metadata — a trove of intelligence that has been regularly collected by the government through a program that its proponents say is a legally sound and crucial counterterrorism tool justified under Section 215 of the United States Patriot Act.

Evidence of that program was exposed last June through classified documents disclosed to the media by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and spurred an immediate and ongoing international discussion that cumulated with the president’s endorsement of reform during a Friday morning speech inside the Justice Department building in downtown Washington, DC.

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