Some Obama spy changes hampered by complications

Jan 20, 2014 by Stephen Braun
In this Jan. 17, 2014, photo, President Barack Obama Talks about National Security Agency surveillance at the Justice Department in Washington. Obama's orders to change some U.S. surveillance practices put the burden on Congress to deal with a national security controversy that has alarmed Americans and outraged foreign allies. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Legal experts warn that several of the key surveillance reforms pushed by President Barack Obama face complications that could muddy the proposals' authority, slow their momentum in Congress and saddle the government with heavy costs and bureaucracy.

Despite Obama's plans to shift the National Security Agency's mass storage of Americans' phone records elsewhere, telephone companies do not want the responsibility. And the government could face privacy and structural hurdles in relying on any other entity to store the data.

Constitutional analysts also question Obama's plan to set up a panel of privacy experts to intervene in some proceedings of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the NSA's data mining operations. Only government attorneys are currently authorized to appear before the secret courts.

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