President Obama. / Carolyn Kaster, AP
President Obama will outline proposed changes to government surveillance policies in a speech Jan. 17, the White House said Friday.
The president's plan will seek to balance the rights of privacy with the need to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, aides said.
The goal "is to take measures that create more transparency, (and) introduce reforms that improve the system in a way that gives the American people more confidence," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Carney, who confirmed the Jan. 17 date but would provide no other details of Obama's remarks, said the president "has been clear throughout this review process that we will not harm our national security or our ability to face global threats."
Potential changes include restrictions on surveillance of foreign leaders and on the handling of telephone and Internet data.
Obama, who received a list of recommendations from a special committee last month, has spoken in recent days with lawmakers, privacy advocates, law enforcement officials and members of the intelligence-gathering community.
Sixteen lawmakers from the Senate and House attended a session Thursday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. They included members of the Intelligence, Judiciary and Appropriations committees.
Congress will probably have to approve some of what Obama proposes.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a prominent critic of NSA surveillance policies, said after the meeting that it's clear Obama and his aides "are wrestling with the serious issues surrounding the disclosures of the last six months."
Wyden said law enforcement agencies can get the information they need to keep the country safe "without intrusive bulk collection," and he called for "the ending of invasive surveillance practices."
The congressional meeting came a day after Obama discussed the NSA with members of the intelligence community and his Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
Members of the White House staff were scheduled to meet Friday with executives from high-tech companies.
Many of the president's guests in recent days have criticized the NSA and its surveillance, saying the agency has exceeded its authority and violated the privacy rights of Americans in the name of fighting terrorism.
The criticism arose last year after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released documents of various activities. Amid the furor, Obama appointed a special committee to review NSA programs and make recommendations. The committee submitted its report last month, and Obama has been reviewing it in the days since, including the series of meetings with stakeholders.
Obama has defended the NSA programs as essential to the nation's counterterrorism efforts. He has said changes can be made to reassure Americans that NSA powers are not being abused, and he wants to strike the proper balance between national security and personal privacy.
Among the president's options:
â?¢Restricting surveillance of foreign leaders. Reports of spying on heads of state have created diplomatic tension between Obama and some of his international colleagues, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
â?¢Placing telephone data under the control of a third party, perhaps a consortium of private phone companies. The NSA or other agencies would need court approval for access to the information.
â?¢Creating "a public advocate" for the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and grants warrants to the NSA for data collection. The advocate would represent the privacy interests of the American people.
â?¢Restricting national security letters, which federal agencies use to obtain telephone and financial information. Some of these agencies object to certain proposals, saying they would hamper investigations of potential terrorist groups.
"It's a very important tool and one that's essential to the work we do," FBI Director James Comey said this week. "I don't know why you would make it harder to get a (national security letter) than a grand jury subpoena."
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