any inquiries on the part of the intelligence committee must now oanld go as far as two steps, from a number associated with the terrorist suspects. whereas before it was three. judicial review at the fisa court, this is also a new safeguard that the president is proposing. on the issue of foreigners the 702 program, international surveillance, perhaps the principal concern is the incidental collection of data on the american public while the intelligence committee is surveilling those oversees. he does say the heads of state of close allies of the united states and previously an official described that as dozens, could not be taken any longer. everyone remembers the controversy around angela merkel. unless there is a national security reason, the president put it. that's unlikely to satisfy the
companies subject to those letters from the fbi asking for data. the president asks for transparency but outlining the reason he don't want to have any more steps, as expected the president is putting forward not just one but a panel of advocates on that fisa court, public advocates to stand up for the american's public's right to privacy when the american intelligence community comes to them. overall, the president offering astout defense for the american intelligence apparatus and those working there. pointing out there are no abuses, no intentional abuses while at the same time, saying attacks have been prevented. he said at the outset of the speech del however he wasn't speaking specifically about the 215 program the metadata collection program, and a federal judge in washington issued a stay of the program
just recently, said there have been no evidence of any attacks being prevented. technological regulations that oversee that technology and the surveillance programs enabled by the technology need to be reviewed del. >> mike viqueria at the white house, now 2012:02 eastern time. if you have been listening in we have listened to the president defending the national intelligence programs, his panel recommending 46 changes. the the president saying he will make five changes to the program. going on to say he would do so defending the existence of those programs within limits. live. >> the whole point is to obtain information that is not publicly available. but america's capabilities are unique. and the power of new technologies means that there are fewer and fewer technical
constraints on what we can do. that places a special obligation on us to ask tough questions about what we should do. >> and as we have been listening to the president we have been joined by amy stepanovich, electronic information center in washington, d.c. the president saying no one expects china to have an open debate about their surveillance program or russia. your reaction to the changes that the president said would be undertaken at the nsa today. >> you know it's always this weird universe when you are comparing the united states to china or russia. do you really want to live in a country that does anything that those two countries do or many of the things? actually, the president's reforms are a very impressive first step. he is looking at the bulk metadata program, he's looking
for transparency. the recommendation in its truest form is, the nsa under his direction is not going to collect this information anymore. now we do have to look at the details. the devil is always in the detail. how long that information is going to be retained. if we're going to start seeing mandatory data retention at the private companies. this is something that was included in the review group report and that i think is uniformly considered would be a step backward for privacy. however i think right now in the wake of this speech we have to say congratulations to the white house, good job and now we have to dig in and make sure we're working in the right direction in the future. >> amy, he says, if you want to keep a secret you must hide it from himself. a
as i started, i said transparency is the best accountability, and i truly believe that. and i think a lot of the reforms that obama announced, opening up the fisa court opinions, allowing private corporations to reveal when they are getting requests from the government this will move forward to a better foreign intent against community. and i think we'll hide less from ourselves in the future, and we need to keep going and open up as much of this black curtain as we can. >> amy thank you for being us with today. when we come back, we're going to talk about edward snowden. david shuster has been collecting information about the
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>> in new orleans... >> seattle bureau... >> washington... >> detroit... >> chicago... >> nashville... >> los angeles... >> san francisco... >> al jazeera america, take a new look at news. welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters in new york. you are returning to our continuing coverage of the nsa controversy, the changes the president says he is making to the programs today. david shuster has been here throughout the broadcast listening to the president's speech. david you say there is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through in this case? >> right. the president says he doesn't want the nsa collect these records. he would prefer a third-party. the phone companies has already said we're not going to collect it for you. and there's no solution right now. so the president is saying we'll confer with congress and figure out who this third-party is
going to be, but until they can come up with a viable third-party, essentially this data collection continues. and the president is saying we're going to have -- >> kicking the can -- >> yeah, kicking the can, and saying i want to move it away from the nsa, but it's up to congress to help me do that. but the congress doesn't have anymore answers than the president. the president aspires to move this data away from the government, but in terms of a reality there is not place to do that yet. so all he can do is provide more transparen transparency, what has the foreign intelligence surveillance court said, and oh, by the way, now companies have more of an opportunity that as the government makes a request of yahoo or google or gmail that those companies can say, hey,
the government has told us they want information, and we are now freer to provide information. >> the president also talking about edward snowden sort of in his speech. i want you to listen to what he had to say. >> the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light while revealing information to our adversaries that we might not fully understand for years to come. >> save edward snowden much of us would not have known much of this today. >> yeah, had it not been for edward snowden we would not have had this major discussion and the major revelations, and it alled goes back to this guy named edward snowden. >> reporter: he is one of the most famous government whistleblowers in decade, and yet edward snowden began his
leaks just seven months ago. on june 5th, glen greenwald reported that the national security agency has been collected the phone records of millions of verizon phone customers. the next day, the "washington post" revealed details of an internet surveillance program. nine companies had been giving the nsa direct access to all user data. adyfiant president obama said the math was simple. >> you can't have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy, and zero inconvenience, you know, we're going to have to make some choices as a society. >> reporter: a few days later snowden took to the airways and identified himself. >> i sitting at my desk
certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if i had a personal email. even if you are not doing anything wrong you are being watched and recorded. >> reporter: and he added that everything can be held indefinitely. >> the storage capability of these systems increases every year, consistently by orders of magnitude. >> reporter: the revelations kept coming. the british version of the nsa known as the gchq has intercepted communications of world leaders at a london summit meeting in 2009. another story said that they were were working with the nsa to track traffic around the globe and the nsa had secretly helped fund the british surveillance reports. this august the "washington post" reported that an internal audit showed the agency has
broken its own privacy regulations more than 2700 times. president obama announced a new review of the nsa but insisted that edward snowden was no patriot. >> mr. snowden had been charged with three felonies. if in fact he believes that what he did was right, then like every american citizen, we can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer, and make his case. >> reporter: the embare are asments for the obama administration continued. in october a german newspaper reported that snowden documents appeared to kate that u.s. intelligence agencies had been listening to cell phone calls of the german channel lor. and then the "washington post" reported that the nsa tapped into the main communication centers for yahoo and google. the story underscored the ability to spy on tech
powerhouses without their knowledge. snowden told the "washington post" he had already won at the end of the year. one of the things that administration officials delve in hoping is that perhaps they could strike some sort of deal that if he would stop leaking documents he could get some sort of break. the president has denied that. but it gets to the fear that the president and his aids are trying to per am in this speech, and that is he still has hundreds of thousands of other documents and still has the ability to leak more information drip by drip, and that's why the president is trying to be proactive by saying some changes need to change. >> by the way any of those rules announced by the president today aren't also going to effect the data collected by private firms.
jacob ward saying some tech firms watch the behavior and communication of americans more than the nsa ever did. >> reporter: google, apple, facebook, and the thousands of silicon valley startups that seek to join their ranks are in the business to track everything about your. your movements, your connections with other people. your behavior in every room of the house. edward snowden's leaks continue to reveal the scope of the surveillance state, but what is truly enormous is the open market for data. data that users give up every day by checking in on four square. >> google just bought a company that makes an internet connected device that can tell when you are home. it uses the information to turn the heat on and off, and the company says it will only use the information to improve its
services. this woman says tech companies are what make the nsa surveillance possible, and the laws about what the government can collect are hopelessly loose and outdated. >> most of the laws haven't been updated since the mid-1980s, the government has been able to reach into this treasure trove of data with very little oversight. >> reporter: think of google and facebook tracking your web activity and selling ads tailored to you. but each new product can pose a risk in their relationship to their customers. >> they fully understand that they have essentially a covenant with their customers, a relationship based on trust, and if they exploit that trust, the customers are going to leave.
>> >> reporter: companies like google sought to defend their reputations via a closed-door meeting at the white house. but they have steadfastly opposed the passage of new laws that seek to transparency. one of those was california's right to know act, which would require companies like google to reveal what data companies collect and how the data is used. the proposed died last year in the face of overwhelming opposition from the very tech companies that objected very strenuously to the nsa's behavior. >> they see themselves as being able to navigate between their business model and their ability to maintain their customer's trust without any rules from the government. >> reporter: it was nearly a century after the telephone was invented that the law caught up
with the technology. and now the law is again years behind the new technology and the companies that track us wherever we go, and whatever we do. we again turn to our white house correspondent mike viqueira. mike, i was struck by the fact that the president during his speech also tried to put a human face on the nsa, saying these are our neighbors, these are our friends, they know much more than we do about how dangerous it is. did it work? >> yeah, and it's largely true. in fort meade where the national security agency is located an enormous -- by far and away the largest of the american intelligence gathering apparatus, dwarfing the cia for that matter. and the president said there was no abuse of any of this data at all. i think when you look at what
the president has proposed and what he has proposed studying, and try to rectify what is down the line, look at what is possible and what isn't possible. there were some steps specifically with regard to the 215 metadata collection. the president said any information sought by the intelligence community under that program now has to go through the fisa court to have access to that data. number two is no longer can the intelligence community search three steps as the president put it, from any number, telephone number, or communications number that is associated with a terrorist. those are limited to two. those are the immediate steps. and with regard to the metadata collection, the president says it is useful and needs to
continue, but the question is where that will be stored? the president endorsing the finding that it should either be stored by a third-party or the companies themselves. that's going to be problematic, as the white house official put it earlier today, you can't just flip a switch and make that happen. there is no third-party entity capable of anything close to what the president has proposed. a lot of the deadline, here, however, is baked in. march 28th is the deadline for reauthorization of the fisa act. and that would be lightning speed for congress to consider this. but when you look at the collection of data on foreigners, when you look at the national security letters from the fbi to the communications letter, the president promising more transparency and promising
to look at reform, but i think a lot of people will be dissatisfied because there are very few concrete steps, but again, the essential argument facing the president and other policy makers, what you can do versus what you should do. what you can do, the ability is growing exponentially, and you heard the president talk about the capability of super computers versus what the united states government should do in gathering and having access to that information, del. >> mike i was truck struck by the similarities from another administration, it sounded similar to the argument that the bush-cheney administration was taking with regard to torture and enhance systems to protect
this country. >> that's true. and there is an element i thought was fascinating. the president is relying on us to us understand about his record personally, not only his voting record in congress against many of the excesses that he and many would agree that came about speaking specifically about interrogation techniques, but prior to entering public life, the president was a constitutional scholar, he specialized in constitutional law, so he is coming to the american public and saying, look i'm biased towards civil liberties, but now i'm in office, and i know the dangers here and these are the steps we can take. we must tread carefully though, del. >> mike, thank you very much.
that shape our lives. >> new questions are raised about the american intervention. >> from unexpected viewpoints to live changing innovations, dollars and cents to powerful storytelling. >> we are at a tipping point in america's history! >> al jazeera america. there's more to it. firefighters still battle the wildfire near los angeles. the fire is estimated to be about 30% contained. the fire quickly growing to cover 1700 acres in the valley.
brian is joining us now with the very latest. brian bring us up to date. >> reporter: dell, the fire was pretty much [ technical difficulties ] the containment figure remained the same too, although they tell us that is expected to grow during the day. at this point they have nearly 1200 firefighters on this fire. this started at dawn in the national forrest area, very close to a densely populated area, and it was pretty scary for a while. it was moving into the suburban area, and some of the palm trees caught on fire. it is very dramatic, they look like torches. five house ebbed up burning, but they got on this quickly, and it has been a pretty successful fire fight.
the wind has been picking up the last couple of minutes, but they expect is greater containment today, and mop this up in a couple of days. >> is there anything really that can be done other than just to pray for rain? >> no, there isn't, other than conserving water, and that's what is going to come next. at least one california county has gotten into water conservation, and other counties may have to do the same. we're about halfway through what should be the rainy season in california, and we have gotten virtually no rain. >> brian rooney joining us live from california with the latest on the fire. we turn now to dave warren for the latest on the weather. really the only thing they can do at this time is mope mother nature cooperates.
>> right. there is still the fed flag warning. the wind looks to be diminishing a bit. no rain in the forecast, though. these storms going up into canada, nowhere near southern california, which is what you need to cover those mountains. you see the satellite showing there is no type of storm. any storm goes well up into canada and impacts alaska and not kro -- california. there is a weak little disturbance which will intensify, but it looks to be intensifying off of the coast by saturday and sunday. cold air with a little bit of snow. >> dave thank you very much. a mix day on wall street. right now the dow is up 66