US President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders as he prepares to announce changes to the oversight and operations of the National Security Agency, which could include using executive power to end the spy agency's bulk collection of phone and Internet records, US News reported on Friday.
Obama is reviewing the recommendations of a five-member advisory panel appointed by the White House, which concluded December 18 the dragnet collection of American phone records "should be terminated as soon as reasonably practicable."
"The current storage by the government of bulk metadata creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy and civil liberty," the advisory report said.
Obama has publicly defended NSA surveillance programs, but plans to announce sometime in January which of the recommendations he will support.
Congress has increased scrutiny of the NSA in recent months, but politicians remain divided on the key issue of whether to end the agency's bulk collection of phone and Internet records.
The White House meeting also included the congressional leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees, all of whom support the NSA's bulk data collection.
The White House's December report made "some constructive recommendations" to reform the NSA, according to a joint statement from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., along with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and ranking member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.