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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama meets with NSA review task force

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,National Security,PennAve,NSA,Meghashyam Mali,Cybersecurity,Spying,Technology

President Obama will meet Wednesday with members of his National Security Agency review task force to discuss their findings, the White House announced.

The group, which studied the NSA's controversial surveillance of phone and internet traffic, submitted their report to the president Dec. 13.

Obama is facing pressure from civil libertarians to scale back the scope of the NSA’s spying and enact greater oversight over its surveillance programs.

The White House has said that Obama is reviewing the task force’s recommendations and will make his judgment on NSA reforms by the end of January. The administration has not shared any of the findings from the review group, which consisted of former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and former Office of Management and Budget privacy director Peter Swire.

Reports in the New York Times and Washington Post, though, said the panel called for tougher rules before allowing the NSA to search communications and that phone companies and not the federal government be responsible for holding that data.

White House press secretary Jay Carney, though, said the entire report would be made public after Obama completed his review.

The meeting with the NSA task force comes a day after Obama sat with leaders from the tech industry who urged him to “move aggressively” on reforming the spy agency during a Tuesday White House meeting.

"We appreciated the opportunity to share directly with the President our principles on government surveillance that we released last week and we urge him to move aggressively on reform," said the tech companies in a statement.

Obama met with 15 Silicon Valley executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

In an open letter to the administration, tech industry firms — including Apple, AOL, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — called for “the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.”

Tech companies say they fear they will lose the trust of their consumers after leaks from former government contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the extent of the NSA's monitoring of phone calls and internet communications.

The White House said that during Tuesday's meeting with tech leaders Obama discussed both the NSA and the troubled healthcare.gov website.

But a source familiar with the closed-door meeting told CNN on Wednesday that tech leaders were upset that much of the meeting focused on the botched Obamacare rollout and wanted more time to discuss their concerns on government surveillance.

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