See report from my FNC colleagues Ed Henry and Kimberly Schwandt…
Senior administration officials say the President will start his news conference today by announcing several new steps to provide more “oversight” and “transparency to the NSA surveillance programs
Keep in mind this is an attempt by the President to focus the top of the newser and some of the questions on the NSA programs, how he’s trying to bring more sunshine, and enables him to try and take some of the focus away from Putin, Benghazi, health care law etc. But reporters can ask any topics after his opening statement to steer it in other directions.
Senior officials say there will be four specific steps the President will announce at the news conference:
1) New effort to work with Congress on reforming Section 215 of the Patriot Act involving metadata of phone records. Officials still insists calls are not being listened to without a warrant, but they say the President will talk about adding more transparency
2) President will discuss new effort to make sure civil liberties concerns are aired in the FISA court that approves warrants in these cases
3) The Administration later today will release a legal paper spelling out what guides the NSA’s collection efforts, what guides them. Aimed at offering better understanding of the legal rationale for Section 215, per officials. The admin will also create a new Website next week for citizens to see how the programs work, show declassification efforts etc
4) President will form high-level outside group of experts to provide more oversight
AND SOME MORE OF KIMBERLY’S NOTES + ROUGH LOG:
*He’ll give a context for the steps they are taking. The president has directed a team – he’s met with some of them this week on the impact of the disclosures. They are emphasizing they are providing “transparency” in this process.
*Has had wide engagement on this issue – including Congress, civil liberties folks and privacy groups.
*Administration officials characterized this as a sort of a transparency “down payment” as they are releasing the legal rationale.
*They’ll be launching a website next week *** – described as way to learn more about activities of gov’t
*In Q &A:
-was transparency a result of Snowden: officials said that raising questions and concerns should be done through a lawful channel.
-what about the fact that Sensenbrenner asked for this earlier: said a number of people have called for release. Takes time, figure out how much is appropriate to be public while not hindering operation of program.