But before his scheduled speech, The Guardian dropped another bomb provided by Edward Snowden — the agency collects and stores an average of 200 million text messages per day from around the world, even from those who are not targets of any investigations.
Obama’s reforms are set to change that, however.
In an 11 a.m. (1600 GMT) speech at the Justice Department, Obama will say he is ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone “metadata” program from the way the NSA currently handles it.
Obama’s move is aimed at restoring Americans’ confidence in U.S. intelligence practices and caps months of reviews by the White House in the wake of damaging disclosures about U.S. surveillance tactics from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In a nod to privacy advocates, Obama will say he has decided that the government should not hold the bulk telephone metadata, a decision that could frustrate some intelligence officials.
In addition, he will order that effective immediately, “we will take steps to modify the program so that a judicial finding is required before we query the database,” said the senior official, who revealed details of the speech on condition of anonymity.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest on Obama’s announcement as information comes in.