Government Panel Recommends Changes to NSA Spy Program

Officials weigh in on the NSA's collection of phone records and metadata.
3:00 | 12/18/13

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Transcript for Government Panel Recommends Changes to NSA Spy Program
This is a special room. Hello I'm -- Hernandez in new York and this is an ABC news digital special report some hope today. For the people working to change the US government spy programs led by the NSA. And only made public when former contractor Edwards -- made them public in a series of ongoing weeks of heavily classified materials. A report delivered to President Obama authored by a panel he pointed to review the surveillance programs. Recommends 46. Changes including a requirement to name the civilian director to lead the NSA. Earlier white house Press Secretary Jay Carney explained why the president decided to release the -- review report earlier than originally planned. Now. Over the next several weeks we will be reviewing the review group's report and its. 46. Recommendations as we consider the path forward including sorting through which recommendations we will implement which might require further study. And which we will choose not to pursue. It's a substantive lengthy report and it merits. Serious. Review and assessment. When we. Finish the internal review the over -- internal review in January. The president will deliver remarks to outline. The outcomes. -- work. Anticipating. This question I'll go right to the answer. While we had intended to release the review group's full report in January as I said earlier given inaccurate and incomplete reports in the press about the report's content. We felt it was important to allow people to see the full report to draw their own conclusions. For that reason we will be doing that this afternoon police in full. And so they did just moments ago 4 o'clock eastern time so with more now on the report and it's early release. And some comments made by members of the panel -- from the White House by ABC's Mary Bruce hi Mary. -- -- -- -- -- I'm good so far we've heard about these 46 recommendations made by the -- a lot to go through so bottom line what is likely to cause the most trouble for the NSA and the White House in terms of those recommendations. I think the headline coming out of this report is that this five member panel. Is recommending that the -- no longer hold these this database of virtually every phone call made in the US. We know from some of the information -- -- from Edwards noted that the NSA essentially. Gathers meta data on every Americans. Phone call and the -- -- -- sees it and report it that is just an Asian recommends that the -- no longer hold that information and instead. He gathered by the phone companies themselves by an outside independent group and now would it in in effect take away a large responsibility that is now held by the NSA and be certainly cause for controversy and much discussion here at the White House -- -- certainly a lot of reaction -- well Richard Clarke a former senior government official and counter terror expert. -- exactly natural enemy of the NSA said today about the collection of phone records and -- -- -- by the NSA quote. We don't see any need for the government to be collecting that data and now. -- that is a pretty big part of what the NSA has been due in part of that has been ruled unconstitutional in court Monday. How likely is it that the White House is going to take that particular suggestion to heart and change its policy. And to make any sense of a. Timeline on these changes. While keeping in mind the panel here is not. Suggesting that it's not important to fat to fight terror to gather this kind of information they're not saying -- this kind of collection of data this kind of surveillance. Is it necessary tool in the fight against -- what they're simply suggesting are several multiple different -- and backed up to 46 recommendations. Of ways in which. He's mechanisms to be made more transparent ways in which that this administration to try and regain some of the public trust when it. Comes to the ways of the government does gather collection does gather and collect data. About americans' phone records americans' communications so this is not about whether or not this is a useful -- and we know that this administration believes strongly that their work that the NSA does is necessary the president has said that it has saved lives now we do know that the president has received this report they received -- on Friday he is reviewing -- you heard Press Secretary Jay -- say next month he will come out and essentially -- which recommendations he's going to adopt which is going to reject and explain why so for now we've got the report we're going -- it -- -- yet today to hear from the White House as to which recommendations they're going to move forward. And there as reporters read very carefully over that tax for the next few hours is this the full report or is there are classified version as well. We know from the five members of this independent review group that they felt very important that there not be. Another separate classified version they didn't want anyone questioning what else is in there what else is out there so this is -- this is. The full report that we're going to be getting this is the only full report that excess. OK so now let's talk a little bit about Edward -- the man who is -- -- With bringing the inner works of the -- -- -- for this phone tapping or meta data collection in particular. He's in Russia and his request for asylum in -- seems -- have just been denied -- the Justice Department balance calling him a -- with the likelihood that. At least some of what he revealed will be deemed unlawful and is highly unpopular with the American public. Absolutely there is no question that this is seen as a victory for that infamous and is a leaker Edwards noting we know. That he is still hiding out somewhere in Russia you mentioned he was requesting asylum in Brazil that seems to have been denied. That's how you also reference this court case. Earlier in the week a federal judge in the District of Columbia. Ruled essentially saying that portions of the NSA phone collection program. Aren't fact he thinks unconstitutional. He said that James Madison the author of the constitution would be aghast if he saw the invasion of privacy going on in this is a fight that now is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court. -- absolutely a faceoff in the making -- okay and the White House is also said it's going to come out with its own ideas in January in terms of this type of collection of -- -- and that the that the nature in the argument about Big Brother so. It is -- white has gearing up for that Supreme Court battle and will. The suggestions that the White House itself issues played -- Well I think what we don't know yet of course that is the case hasn't gone that far just yet we -- that this administration feels very strongly that a -- absolutely has to be struck between the need to protect americans' privacy. And need to protect American security that's something that this president has spoken out about frequently something he feels very strongly about he -- said that he believes it's important to put some additional restraints on the -- what exactly those restraints will be we'll hear about in January. Writing BC's Mary -- reporting from the White House thank you so much. For joining us and for a full report an in depth analysis of the presidential panel's report on the NSA's surveillance program stay right here. On This has been an ABC news digital special report anti Hernandez -- New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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