President Obama will issue new guidelines to curtail government surveillance, but will not adopt the most far-reaching proposals of his own advisers and will ask Congress to help decide some tough issues, the New York Times reports. Obama plans to increase limits on access to bulk telephone data, call for privacy safeguards for foreigners and propose creation of a public advocate to represent privacy concerns at a secret intelligence court. He will not endorse leaving bulk data in the custody of telecommunications firms, nor will he require court permission for all national security letters seeking business records.
The emerging approach suggested a president trying to placate foreign leaders and advocates of civil liberties without a backlash from national security agencies. The result seems to be a speech that leaves in place many current programs, but embraces the spirit of reform and keeps the door open to changes later. Obama plans to speak Friday at the Justice Department and issue a presidential guidelines memorandum. It will be the president’s highest-profile response to the disclosures about the National Security Agency made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.