Obama to announce new NSA data collection rules
The Obama administration on Tuesday will announce new rules offering slight adjustments to how U.S. intelligence agencies handle data collected on Americans and foreigners, the New York Times reported.
National Security Agency analysts now will be required to delete information accidentally collected about U.S. citizens “that has no intelligence purpose,” the newspaper said. Similar information about non-citizens also will have to be deleted within five years.
The new rules will formalize the White House’s review of the NSA’s monitoring of foreign leaders, the report said.
The White House will announce the rules, which the Times called modest, on Tuesday. White House representatives could not be reached immediately to confirm the report.
President Barack Obama’s expected adjustments to the NSA data collection come nearly two years after former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s explosive revelations that the U.S. government was collecting and storing bulk electronic data.
Snowden revealed the government was gathering metadata on telephone calls to and from U.S. citizens. It also conducted mass surveillance on allies, including eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.
The disclosures sparked a scandal and led Germany to cut ties with U.S. telecommunications firms because of how they handled the data with the American government.
Obama ordered a halt to the monitoring of Merkel, who is scheduled to meet with Obama in Washington next week.
The New York Times said the rules will include modest changes to national security letters, which the FBI uses to obtain data in national security cases without judges’ orders and often on the condition that the letters are never disclosed by the recipients.
While exceptions can be made, new requirement will call for the FBI to “presumptively terminate” such non-disclosure orders three years after launching an investigation or at the end of the probe, the newspaper said, citing the administration’s announcement.
The Times said the changes affecting foreigners were fairly small. While content from a telephone or email conversation of a U.S. citizen must be immediately deleted if it is not relevant to security, such data from a non-citizen can be held for five years unless other rules are invoked to hold it longer.
Foreigners also will not be able to seek action from U.S. courts if their data were collected by the NSA, although they could do so if their private information was transferred from a foreign government to the United States, the newspaper said.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)