Full text of Obama's intelligence directive regarding NSA reforms

Here is the official presidential directive and a fact sheet on the details of the new policy

President Barack Obama today issued new directions for the government's intelligence to follow. Among the items released today were an official Presidential Directive and a fact sheet on the details of the new policy. Here are full versions of both.

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In the latter half of 2013 and early 2014, the United States government undertook a broad-ranging and unprecedented review of our signals intelligence programs, led by the White House with relevant departments and agencies across the government. In addition to our own intensive work, the review process drew on input from key stakeholders, including Congress, the tech community, civil society, foreign partners, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and others. The administration's review examined how, in light of new and changing technologies, we can use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures. On January 17, 2014, the president delivered a speech at the Department of Justice to announce the outcomes of this review process.

In that speech, the president made clear that the men and women of the U.S. intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow those protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people and are not abusing authorities. When mistakes have been made, they have corrected those mistakes. But for our intelligence community to be effective over the long haul, we must maintain the trust of the American people, and people around the world. To that end, the administration has developed a path forward that we believe should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, while preserving important tools that keep us safe, and that addresses significant questions that have been raised overseas. Today the president announced the Administration's adoption of a series of concrete and substantial reforms that the administration will adopt administratively or seek to codify with Congress, to include a majority of the recommendations made by the Review Group.

Fact sheet: Review of U.S. signals intelligence

In the latter half of 2013 and early 2014, the United States government undertook a broad-ranging and unprecedented review of our signals intelligence programs, led by the White House with relevant departments and agencies across the government. In addition to our own intensive work, the review process drew on input from key stakeholders, including Congress, the tech community, civil society, foreign partners, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and others. The administration's review examined how, in light of new and changing technologies, we can use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures. On January 17, 2014, the president delivered a speech at the Department of Justice to announce the outcomes of this review process.

In that speech, the president made clear that the men and women of the U.S. intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow those protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people and are not abusing authorities. When mistakes have been made, they have corrected those mistakes. But for our intelligence community to be effective over the long haul, we must maintain the trust of the American people, and people around the world. To that end, the administration has developed a path forward that we believe should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, while preserving important tools that keep us safe, and that addresses significant questions that have been raised overseas. Today the president announced the administration's adoption of a series of concrete and substantial reforms that the administration will adopt administratively or seek to codify with Congress, to include a majority of the recommendations made by the Review Group.

New presidential policy directive

Today, President Obama issued a new presidential policy directive for our signals intelligence activities, at home and abroad. This directive lays out new principles that govern how we conduct signals intelligence collection, and strengthen how we provide executive branch oversight of our signals intelligence activities. It will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances; our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of our companies; and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties. And we will review decisions about intelligence priorities and sensitive targets on an annual basis, so that our actions are regularly scrutinized by thepresident's senior national security team.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Since the review began, we've declassified over 40 opinions and orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which provides judicial review of some of our most sensitive intelligence activities including the Section 702 program targeting foreign individuals overseas and the Section 215 telephone metadata program. Going forward, the president directed the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the attorney general, to annually review for the purpose of declassification any future opinions of the court with broad privacy implications, and to report to the president and Congress on these efforts. To ensure that the court hears a broader range of privacy perspectives, the president called on Congress to authorize the establishment of a panel of advocates from outside the government to provide an independent voice in significant cases before the court.

Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Section 702 is a valuable program that allows the government to intercept the communications of foreign targets overseas who have information that's important to our national security. The president believes that we can do more to ensure that the civil liberties of U.S. persons are not compromised in this program. To address incidental collection of communications between Americans and foreign citizens, the president has asked the attorney general and DNI [director of national intelligence] to initiate reforms that place additional restrictions on the government's ability to retain, search, and use in criminal cases, communications between Americans and foreign citizens incidentally collected under Section 702.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act
Under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the government collects metadata related to telephone calls in bulk. We believe this is a capability that we must preserve, and would note that the Review Group turned up no indication that the program had been intentionally abused. But, we believe we must do more to give people confidence. For this reason, the president ordered a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists, and establish a program that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding the data.

This transition has two steps. Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three. The president has directed the attorney general to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court so that during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding, or in a true emergency. On the broader question, the president has instructed the intelligence community and the attorney general to use this transition period to develop options for a new program that can match the capabilities and fill the gaps that the Section 215 program was designed to address without the government holding this metadata, and report back to him with options for alternative approaches before the program comes up for reauthorization on March 28. At the same time, the president will consult with the relevant committees in Congress to seek their views, and then seek congressional authorization for the new program as needed.

National security letters
In investigating threats, the FBI relies on the use of national security letters (NSLs), which can be used to require companies to provide certain types of information to the government without disclosing the orders to the subject of the investigation. In order to be more transparent in how the government uses this authority, the president directed the attorney general to amend how we use NSLs to ensure that nondisclosure is not indefinite, and will terminate within a fixed time unless the government demonstrates a need for further secrecy.

We will also enable communications providers to make public more information than ever before about the orders they have received to provide data to the government. These companies have made clear that they want to be more transparent about the FISA, NSLs, and law-enforcement requests that they receive from the government. The administration agrees that these concerns are important, and is in discussions with the providers about ways in which additional information could be made public.

Increasing confidence overseas
U.S. global leadership demands that we balance our security requirements against our need to maintain trust and cooperation among people and leaders around the world. For that reason, the new presidential guidance lays out principles that govern what we do abroad, and clarifies what we don't do. The United States only uses signals intelligence for legitimate national security purposes, and not for the purpose of indiscriminately reviewing the emails or phone calls of ordinary people.

What we don't do: The United States does not collect intelligence to suppress criticism or dissent. We do not collect intelligence to disadvantage people based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. And we do not collect intelligence to provide a competitive advantage to U.S. companies or U.S. commercial sectors.

What we will do: In terms of our bulk collection, we will only use data to meet specific security requirements: counterintelligence, counterterrorism, counterproliferation, cyber security, force protection for our troops and allies, and combating transnational crime, including sanctions evasion.

The president has also decided that we will take the unprecedented step of extending certain protections that we have for the American people to people overseas. He has directed the attorney general and DNI to develop these safeguards, which will limit the duration that we can hold personal information, while also restricting the dissemination of this information.

People around the world regardless of their nationality should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don't threaten our national security and takes their privacy concerns into account.

This applies to foreign leaders as well. Given the understandable attention that this issue has received, the president has made clear to the intelligence community that unless there is a compelling national security purpose we will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies. And he has instructed his national security team, as well as the intelligence community, to work with foreign counterparts to deepen our coordination and cooperation in ways that rebuild trust going forward.

While our intelligence agencies will continue to gather information about the intentions of governments as opposed to ordinary citizens around the world, in the same way that the intelligence services of every other nation do, we will not apologize because our services may be more effective. But heads of state and government with whom we work closely, on whose cooperation we depend, should feel confident that we are treating them as real partners. The changes the president ordered do just that.

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