WASHINGTON Dec 5 President Barack Obama said on
Thursday he intends to propose National Security Agency reforms
to reassure Americans that their privacy is not being violated
by the agency.
"Part of what we're trying to do over the next month or so
is, having done an independent review and brought a whole bunch
of folks, civil libertarians and lawyers and others to examine
what's being done, I'll be proposing some self-restraint on the
NSA and to initiate some reforms that can give people more
confidence," Obama said in an interview on the MSNBC television
program "Hardball with Chris Matthews."
A steady drip of revelations of NSA snooping has raised
widespread concern about the reach of the agency's operations
and its ability to pry into the affairs of private individuals
as well as the communications of foreign leaders.
In the most recent such news, the Washington Post reported
this week that the agency gathers nearly 5 billion records a day
on the location of mobile telephones worldwide, including those
of some Americans. The information comes from documents made
public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Obama said he would not comment on details of NSA programs,
but that while revelations of the agency's activities have
raised legitimate concerns, some aspects have been exaggerated.
"Some of it has also been highly sensationalized and has
been painted in a way that's not accurate," he said.
Some surveillance is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks
on U.S. soil, but the agency's activities are constrained in the
United States, Obama said.
"They are not interested in reading your emails," he said.
"They're not interested in - reading your text messages."
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)