Archives for White House

Obama calls for changes in NSA spying

Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court’s permission before accessing such records. Still, he defended the nation’s spying apparatus as a whole, saying the intelligence community was not “cavalier about the civil liberties of our fellow citizens.” The president also directed America’s intelligence agencies to stop spying on friendly international leaders and called for extending some privacy protections to foreign citizens whose communications are scooped up by the U.S.
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Obama ready to accept some changes in NSA spying

President Barack Obama is expected to endorse changes to the way the government collects millions of Americans’ phone records for possible future surveillance, but he’ll leave many of the specific adjustments for Congress to sort out, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the White House intelligence review. That move would thrust much of the decision-making on Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act toward a branch of government that is deeply divided over the future of the surveillance apparatus. And members of Congress are in no hurry to settle their differences and quickly enact broad changes. Obama will speak
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Obama looks to executive actions to push jobs agenda

Ready to put an economic spotlight on his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is picking up the pace of his jobs message and making a case that, even against a divided Congress, he can still be relevant to people struggling in the up-and-down recovery. With two weeks left before his message to a joint session of Congress, Obama is showcasing how he can advance his economic agenda administratively and through his ability to coax action from important interest groups. On Tuesday, Obama is meeting with his Cabinet to discuss measures that can help the middle class. On
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Gates says his book is ‘an honest account’

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he doesn’t regret anything he wrote in his controversial new book and calls the memoir “an honest account.” In “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War,” the former Pentagon chief under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama raises questions about Obama’s war leadership and harshly criticizes Vice President Joe Biden. Gates tells CBS’ “Sunday Morning” that people credited him with being blunt and candid while he was in the Cabinet and that “I could hardly be any less in writing a book.” Gates say how some are looking at the book reflects the
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Supremes asked to limit Obama’s appointment powers

The Supreme Court is refereeing a politically charged dispute between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans over the president’s power to temporarily fill high-level positions. The case being argued at the high court Monday is the first in the nation’s history to consider the meaning of the provision of the Constitution that allows the president to make temporary appointments to positions that otherwise require Senate confirmation, but only when the Senate is in recess. The court battle is an outgrowth of increasing partisanship and the political stalemate that’s been a hallmark of Washington for years, and especially since Obama took
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Obama expected to restrict some spying by NSA

President Barack Obama is expected to tighten restrictions on U.S. spying on foreign leaders and also is considering changes in National Security Agency access to Americans’ phone records, according to people familiar with a White House review of the nation’s surveillance programs. Obama could unveil his highly anticipated decisions as early as next week. Ahead of that announcement, he is consulting with lawmakers, privacy advocates and intelligence officials who were invited to White House meetings Wednesday and Thursday. “He’s at that stage still where he’s listening and discussing with a variety of stakeholders and appreciates very much the opinions and
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Obama near a decision on NSA spying programs

President Barack Obama is hosting a series of meetings this week with lawmakers, privacy advocates and intelligence officials as he nears a final decision on changes to the government’s controversial surveillance programs. Obama could announce the changes as early as next week. He’s weighing more than 40 recommendations from a presidential review board that proposed restrictions on the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone records from millions of Americans. A separate task force appointed by Congress has also undertaken its own review of the NSA’s vast powers. However, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board doesn’t expect to issue its
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Obama pushes new gun control regulations

The Obama administration on Friday proposed two new gun control regulations aimed at clarifying restrictions on gun ownership for the mentally ill and strengthening a database used for background checks before firearm purchases. The measures are the latest step in a year-long push by President Barack Obama to tighten U.S. gun laws in the wake of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children were killed. Obama tried last year to bring in sweeping new gun control measures in the aftermath of that shooting, but most of his proposals were defeated in Congress. He has pledged to continue working
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Obama closes out the year on a low key

President Barack Obama is closing out a difficult year in low-key fashion, with hopes for better results to come in 2014, particularly for his troubled health care law. Obama kicked off the last day of 2013 with an hourlong workout at a military base near his rented vacation home in Hawaii. He and first lady Michelle Obama then headed to Hanauma Bay for a midday snorkeling outing on a sun-splashed day on the island of Oahu. The White House said the president planned to stay at home Tuesday night and ring in the new year with friends and family. The
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White House under pressure to name healthcare CEO

The White House is coming under pressure from some of its closest allies on healthcare reform to name a chief executive to run its federal health insurance marketplace and allay the concerns of insurers after the rocky rollout of Obamacare. Advocates have been quietly pushing the idea of a CEO who would set marketplace rules, coordinate with insurers and state regulators on the health plans offered for sale, supervise enrollment campaigns and oversee technology, according to several sources familiar with discussions between advocates and the Obama administration. Supporters of the idea say it could help regain the trust of insurers
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