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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama to announce NSA review on Jan. 17

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,National Security,PennAve,NSA,Surveillance,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Technology

President Obama will announce his reforms to the national security Agency's surveillance programs a week from today, on Friday, Jan. 17, the White House said.

The president’s decision was first reported by Bloomberg and confirmed by White House press secretary Jay Carney. Carney, though, declined to identify the time or location for the remarks.

Obama is currently studying 46 recommendations provided by an outside task force he tabbed to review the NSA's monitoring and collection of phone and internet data.

The extent of those surveillance programs were disclosed by leaks from former government contractor Edward Snowden, sparking outrage from civil libertarians who said the practices violated the privacy rights of Americans.

The president has defended the NSA’s practices as essential to protecting the nation’s security and argued that they saved lives and thwarted terror threats. But Obama said he would take steps to better balance privacy and national security concerns to reassure the public.

Obama has met with a number of stakeholders on both sides of the debate and on Thursday sat down with 16 lawmakers at the White House, including the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

“This meeting was an opportunity for the President to hear from the Members about the work they have been doing on these issues since they last met and solicit their input as we near the end of our internal review,” the White House said in a statement.

The debate over NSA spying though places Obama in a difficult political spot, with both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans urging him to enact tougher oversight over the agency.

A report from the said Obama could limit the NSA's access to phone records and place new restrictions on its spying on foreign leaders.

Carney on Thursday declined to address those reports, saying only that Obama would announce his decision when he had completed his review.

Key senators on Friday sought to raise pressure on Obama, urging him to take bold steps to rein in NSA surveillance.

Intelligence Committee Sens. Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich wrote to Obama, calling on him to act “with reasonable haste to protect both our national security and the personal rights and liberties of U.S. citizens.”

White House Correspondent Susan Crabtree contributed to this report.

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