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Obama: NSA Overhaul Would Prevent Abuse, Help Win Back Trust

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a ceremony to awards 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in the East Room of the White House March 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.comOlivier Douliery / Abaca

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President Barack Obama says that his administration’s new proposal to overhaul the National Security Agency’s phone records program will help prevent the possibility of abuse and help win back the "trust" of governments and individuals concerned about privacy issues.

“I’m confident that everybody in our intelligence agencies operates in the best of intentions and is not snooping into the privacy of ordinary Dutch, German, French or American citizens,” he said during a joint press conference at the Hague with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “What is true is that there is a danger because of these new technologies that at some point [the program] could be abused.”

“I recognize that, because of these revelations, that there’s a process that’s taking place where we have to win back the trust, not just of governments, but more importantly of ordinary citizens,” he added.

The proposal, first reported in the New York Times, would keep bulk phone records in the hands of phone companies rather than the government, and it would require a judge to grant permission for NSA access of specific records.

“Overall, I'm confident that it allows us to do what is necessary to deal with the dangers of a terrorist attack but does so in a way that addresses some of the concerns that people have raised,” he said.

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