Skip to comments.President’s goal for NSA reform — no more Edward Snowdens
Posted on 01/14/2014 6:39:47 AM PST by Qbert
The Obama administration plans to overhaul the nations security clearance system to prevent future intelligence leaks like the one by former defense contractor Edward Snowden.
The changes, part of a package of reforms President Obama is expected to announce Friday during a speech at the Justice Department, will include more stringent and more frequent vetting of security clearances, according to sources familiar with the administrations plans.
The president is embracing some of the proposals offered by an advisory panel he appointed.
The panel recommended security clearances become more highly differentiated and that a new clearance level be created to limit the sensitive material that information technology workers can access. Those with security clearances may also be subject to continuous monitoring, with things like changes in credit ratings, arrests, or suspicious reports from fellow employees becoming incorporated regularly into a review of employees clearances.
While working on IT issues as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor at an NSA facility in Hawaii, Snowden gathered more than 1 million documents detailing the governments top-secret security programs.
He has since leaked information about the governments mass collection of telephone and email records, its surveillance of foreign electronic communication, and its monitoring of foreign leaders phones and email.
The leaks are among the most significant in U.S. history and have created headaches for the administration both at home and overseas.
They also led to bipartisan calls from Capitol Hill to reform the clearance process, with lawmakers complaining about inconsistent standards during security investigations.
Different responsibilities, different standards, different metrics, different everything, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said at a hearing investigating the clearance process last summer. So this issue comes up with Snowden, and we shouldnt be surprised at all.
The advisory panel appointed by Obama offered 46 recommendations to the White House.
The majority will be approved by Obama in his Friday speech, which is expected to focus primarily on the presidents proposals to increase transparency and privacy protections, though sources said the situation remains fluid and that some decisions have yet to be finalized.
The Associated Press reported last week that Obama would increase scrutiny on U.S. surveillance of foreign leaders. The White House may also appoint privacy and civil liberties policy officials at senior levels within the administration, and may take steps to reaffirm that the surveillance programs do not steal trade secrets.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Obama is near completion and finishing his work on the review.
Were not quite concluded yet in that process, but coming close, Carney said.
The administration may take additional actions to guard against future Snowdens.
It plans to continue to study another recommendation from the advisory panel to consolidate the background review process so that checks could only be performed by the government or a designated nonprofit entity, according to sources familiar with its deliberations. And the administration will examine implementing new restrictions on how and when cleared personnel can access specific information.
Separately, the president is expected to reject recommendations from the advisory panel of a substantial overhaul to the NSA.
Obama is expected not to adopt the panels suggestion that the NSAs cyberdefense group the Information Assurance Directorate be moved to the Pentagon. Nor will Obama order the reassignment of missions other than foreign intelligence collection away from the agency, a source familiar with the current state of the review said.
Those expectations suggest that Obama is not readying an extreme overhaul of the spy agencys structure. They were foreshadowed in the administrations early announcement that it would not follow the review boards recommendation to split the NSA from the U.S. Cyber Command, thereby preventing a civilian leader of the organization.
In December, the White House announced that one, dual-hatted position is the most effective approach to accomplishing both agencies missions.
Obama and top White House aides have been meeting with lawmakers, members of the intelligence community, privacy advocates and tech company executives ahead of the expected announcement.
Much of the focus has centered on what, if anything, the president will recommend doing about the controversial telephone metadata and electronic surveillance programs.
Many of the recommendations from the White House review group, like both the measures to shift the bulk data collection and install a civil liberties advocate on the secretive court that oversees national security decisions, would require legislation.
On Monday, Carney said it was a fair assumption to make based on the recommendations that were released publicly by the review group, that some of these reforms and changes would require congressional action, noting he was not confirming any of the presidents plans.
Lawmakers told The Hill last week that the controversial bulk metadata collection program was one of the top items on the agenda in their 90-minute meeting with Obama. Advocates of reform, including Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), said that changes to the program were gaining momentum.
Metadata information includes the phone number dialed as well as the frequency and duration of calls but not the content itself.
Leahy, along with Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), has introduced the USA Freedom Act, which would end the metadata collection program. The legislation has gained broad support from both parties but is being opposed by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others who have defended the program.
In addition to Obamas expected announcement, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is also gearing up to release a report in late January or early February outlining recommendations for reforming the countrys surveillance infrastructure.
And transparency requires... a Police State.
And: NO MORE OBAMAS OR BUSHES!
So the fix is not to protect our freedoms, but to make sure there are no more revalations of how they are trampling our freedoms?
A guy like Heydrich would have the NSA working like a Swiss watch in no time.
Whoops...he forgot to mention the little faggot...
I guess by “more frequent” vetting of security clearances, they actually mean, actually vetting them in the first place?
(Bill Gates liked her. Found her to be hard working and a true brainiac.)
"So the fix is not to protect our freedoms, but to make sure there are no more revalations of how they are trampling our freedoms?"
Yep. That's this administration's entire M.O. Really no different than what was going on in the Soviet Union...
Maybe stop ‘em from doing things Americans wouldn’t approve of and you won’t have to worry about leaks?
Most Americans KNOW we need to be aware of what our enemies are doing or might do. What we don’t like is ANY government agency violating the basic principle that to perform surveillance on a citizen that you need a warrant. And that warrant MUST state what is being collected, for how long, and what justification the agency has for believing they need to collect it.
That is quite a take-away from this.
How could you possibly expect anything else?
You and I are no more than mobile wallets to the government. We have no rights that they can't take away at their whim.