Jan. 17 - After months of headlines detailing mass electronic spying by the U.S., President Barack Obama unveils plans to reform some of the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs. Nathan Frandino reports.
President Barack Obama revealed in a major speech on Friday big changes for the National Security Agency. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "The reforms I'm proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe." This comes months after former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden revealed damaging disclosures about NSA spy programs. Obama promised that the NSA will not eavesdrop on the heads of state or government of close U.S. friends and allies. According to leaked documents, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among many leaders targetted by this practice. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "The leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know that if I want to learn what they think about an issue, I will pick up the phone and call them, rather than turning to surveillance." Obama also called on Congress to create an independent panel of privacy advocates for the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that considers terrorism cases. As for the bulk collection of telephone metadata, Obama said the U.S. government will require a judicial review before the database can be queried - unless there is a true emergency. Additionally, Obama said metadata would only be used for fighting terrorism, protecting U.S. troops and allies, and combating crime.