President Barack Obama is expected to restrict National Security Agency access to Americans’ phone records and rein in spying on foreign leaders, according to people familiar with a White House review of the government’s surveillance programs.
Obama could unveil his highly anticipated decisions as early as next week. On Thursday, the president is expected to discuss his review with congressional lawmakers, while his top lawyer plans to meet with privacy groups. Representatives from tech companies are meeting with White House staff on Friday.
The White House says Obama is still collecting information before making final decisions.
Among the changes Obama is expected to announce is more oversight of the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, a classified document that ranks U.S. intelligence-gathering priorities and is used to make decisions on scrutiny of foreign leaders. A presidential review board has recommended increasing the number of policy officials who help establish those priorities, and that could result in limits on surveillance of allies.
Documents released by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed that the US was monitoring the communications of several friendly foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The revelations outraged Merkel as well as other leaders, and US officials say the disclosures have damaged Obama’s relations around the world.
Obama and Merkel spoke by phone Wednesday, but US officials would not say whether they discussed the NSA issues.