The White House on Friday said President Obama had received a report from his task force reviewing National Security Agency surveillance practices but that he would not make recommendations about the controversial programs until an internal review is completed in January.
“Over the next several weeks, we will be reviewing the Review Group’s report and its more than 40 recommendations as we consider the path forward, including determining which recommendations we will implement, which might require further study and which we will choose not to pursue,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
The administration is conducting its own review of surveillance methods detailed in leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden.
Hayden said that Obama would not make recommendations about how to reform the NSA practices until January. At that point, the administration will make public the report by the outside panel.
The outside group was comprised of security experts and privacy advocates: former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and former Office of Management and Budget privacy director Peter Swire.
Earlier Friday, the administration announced that it would keep both the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command under the leadership of the NSA director. Some had called for a civilian to lead the spy department.
Lawmakers on Friday were already anticipating the public airing of the report.
"As a longtime champion of surveillance reform, and having called for an end to the dragnet collection of Americans’ private phone records, I look forward to reviewing the recommendations made by the president's panel," Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said. "There is a growing movement across Colorado, the nation and within Congress to rein in the government's expansive domestic surveillance powers.”
The Snowden revelations have kept Obama on the defensive for months, with critics accusing the president of infringing on Americans’ privacy in the name of national security.