WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's top intelligence official says a previously undisclosed program for tapping into Internet usage is authorized by Congress, falls under strict supervision of a secret court and cannot intentionally target a U.S. citizen. And he says it was reckless to reveal it and another intelligence-gathering program.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has taken the rare step of declassifying some details of an intelligence program to respond to media reports about the government's counterterrorism techniques.
His statement and declassification on Saturday addresses the Internet scouring program, code-named PRISM, that allows the NSA and FBI to tap directly into the servers of major U.S. Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL. Like the phone-records program, PRISM was approved by a judge in a secret court order. Unlike that program, however, PRISM allows the government to seize actual conversations: emails, video chats, instant messages and more.
Clapper says the program, authorized in the USA Patriot Act, has been in place since 2008 and "has proven vital to keeping the nation and our allies safe."
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is urging Americans to "make some choices" in balancing privacy and security.
Obama is defending once-secret surveillance programs that sweep up an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day and amass Internet data from U.S. providers in an attempt to thwart terror attacks.
The president says it will be harder to detect threats against the U.S. now that the two top-secret tools to target terrorists have been so thoroughly publicized.
The National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans each day to learn whether terror suspects have been in contact with people in the U.S.
The NSA also has been gathering all Internet usage from major U.S. Internet providers in hopes of detecting suspicious behavior that begins overseas.
NSA-PHONE RECORDS-WORLD REAX
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Another two hours of talks are scheduled today in California between President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
They'll wrap up their talks with a range of issues. Obama and Xi met for several hours yesterday evening discussing cyber-espionage and other issues.
Obama says the U.S. and China are in "uncharted waters" as they tackle the contentious issue of cybersecurity.
The two leaders carefully avoided directly accusing each other of spying. But they acknowledged an urgent need to find a common approach to addressing the matter.
U.S. officials cast the more relaxed summit at a California estate as an opportunity for Obama and Xi to hold candid and free-flowing talks on the issues that define the relationship between the two countries, including the economy, climate change and North Korea's nuclear provocations.