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Obama prepares to crawl up NSA's ass with microscope

We could tell you, Mr President, but then we'd have to...

President Barack Obama has quietly put together an intelligence review group to look at how to make people more comfortable with the US's snooping.

In a short statement, the White House said Obama had met with the panel, made up of intelligence officials including former CIA deputy director Michael Morrell and academics like Peter Swire, professor at Georgia Tech and expert in privacy law.

The group has been gathered together to figure out how the US "can employ its technical collection capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while respecting our commitment to privacy and civil liberties, recognising our need to maintain the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorised disclosure", the statement said.

The US has been on the receiving end of more and more outrage since the first reports of its National Security Agency's PRISM project, which spied on phone and internet communications, came out from documents leaked by its contracted systems administrator Edward Snowden. The revelations have continued, including most recently, accusations that the agency has been bugging the UN's headquarters and the EU embassy in Washington.

Also on the panel are former national coordinator for security, infrastructure and counter-terrorism Richard Clarke, Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey Stone and legal scholar Cass Sunstein.

The group has been told to come up with some interim findings for the President in 60 days, which he'll review with his director of national intelligence James Clapper. ®

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