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Obama says US needs checks and balances on intelligence collection but can't disarm

Source: Reuters - Fri, 20 Dec 2013 07:57 PM
Author: Reuters
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WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama tried to strike a middle ground on Friday on questions about broad surveillance practices conducted by the National Security Agency, saying some checks are needed on the system but "we can't unilaterally disarm."

At a White House news conference, Obama said he would spend the next few weeks sorting through the recommendations of a presidential advisory panel on how to rein in the National Security Agency in the wake of disclosures from former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden.

Obama said it is possible that some bulk phone data collected by intelligence agencies could be kept by private companies instead of the U.S. government as a way of restoring Americans' trust in the program.

"We can't unilaterally disarm," said Obama. But information can be collected with more checks and balances, he said.

(Reporting By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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