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Iran Press TV

White House 'disagrees' with review board's finding on US spying

Iran Press TV

Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:54AM GMT

The administration of US President Barack Obama has said it disagrees with the findings of an independent review group that showed Washington's phone data collection program is illegal.

In a 238-report, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said on Thursday that a law known as Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act "does not provide an adequate basis to support" the National Security Agency's program for collecting billions of Americans' phone records on a daily basis.

The board, which works to protect Americans' civil liberties and privacy, also called for an end to the program, saying "cessation of the program would eliminate the privacy and civil liberties concerns associated with bulk collection."

However, the White House immediately disagreed with the findings of the board, although the group had shared its conclusions with Obama prior to his speech last Friday in which he promised some modest changes to the NSA's spying programs.

"On the issue of (Section) 215, we simply disagree with the board's analysis on the legality of the program," Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday.

"The administration believes that the program is lawful," he added.

The PCLOB's report also said that there has been no single instance in which the US government's phone data collection program contributed to the discovery of a terrorist threat to the United States.

"We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation," it said.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has described the once-secret program, which whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks brought to light, as useful and the US President in his last Friday's speech only proposed that the NSA's database of phone records should be moved out of government hands and be kept by private phone companies.


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