Reaction to President Obama’s speech is beginning to arrive.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) was one of the first to release a statement:
“I welcome the news today that President Obama will move to end the telephone bulk collection data as it exists,” Heller said. “This program is a form of government overreach that I believe crossed the line from protecting Americans to violating our Fourth Amendment rights. Several lawmakers shared these same concerns, which is why we joined together to introduce the USA Freedom Act last fall to end this program once and for all. Just as President Obama said today, the President and Congress must work closely together in order to strike the correct balance that allows our intelligence community to keep our nation safe without undertaking massive privacy intrusions.”
And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also hit “send” on his statement as the speech concluded. It said, in part:
“Today, President Obama articulated the fundamental principles at stake in the debate over how to reform our surveillance programs, and how we should balance security with privacy. … I am pleased that the President clearly took the concern of the Review Group, Congress, and the American people seriously by announcing concrete steps to protect privacy, enhance oversight, and improve transparency of America’s surveillance efforts. … I was particularly pleased to hear the President’s support for moving call record data outside of the NSA and requiring a court order to search it. The telephony metadata program is not without value, but the program can be restructured so that the government no longer collects the calling records of Americans in bulk. Doing so will achieve the same goals of protecting the nation from terrorism, but also be more respectful of privacy and with a minimal loss in efficiency. … The Congress should reject proposals that would house call records in some third party entity – such an entity will be rightly perceived as a subsidiary of the NSA and would do little to build public confidence.”
“I also was pleased to hear the President’s support for an adversary before the FISA Court so that there is a party charged with advocating on behalf of privacy and civil liberties of Americans.”