President Obama will deliver his highly anticipated speech on reforms to the National Security Agency on Jan 17, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney did not elaborate on what the president will say when he lays out his vision for changes to the NSA's vast surveillance activities, in the wake of the disclosures from documents stolen by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

As the Washington Post reported Friday, Obama and his aides have been focused behind-the-scenes this week on finishing its review of the spy programs and preparing for the president's address to the nation. Privacy and civil liberty activists, along with top tech company executives, are calling on the president to adopt sweeping reforms to curb the NSA's collection of phone call metadata and other personal information of online users.

But U.S. defense and intelligence agencies have argued fiercely that such information is necessary to keep the public safe, even though a White House advisory board found in a December report no evidence that such data prevented a terrorist attack.