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NSA Snooping

Observers Weigh in on Snooping Speech

Glenn Greenwald, a backer of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, says the president is simply asking the wrong question.

Sen. Rand Paul, a top critic of the administration on civil liberties, said he's "disappointed."

"While I am encouraged the President is addressing the NSA spying program because of pressure from Congress and the American people, I am disappointed in the details. The Fourth Amendment requires an individualized warrant based on probable cause before the government can search phone records and e-mails. President Obama's announced solution to the NSA spying controversy is the same unconstitutional program with a new configuration."

Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan slammed the speech, saying "nothing the President said today will end the unconstitutional invasion of Americans' privacy."

Some key Democrats liked what they heard.

And some said the president's statements don't go far enough.

Key Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Mark Udall of Colorado and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, were also favorable - though they said they would keep working for further reforms.

After the long push to rein in overbroad surveillance powers, we are very pleased that the President announced his intent to end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. Ending this dragnet collection will go a long way toward restoring Americans’ constitutional rights and rebuilding the public’s trust. Make no mistake, this is a major milestone in our longstanding efforts to reform the National Security Agency’s bulk collection program. We also believe that additional surveillance reforms are necessary, and we will continue to push for these reforms in the coming weeks and months. In particular, we will work to close the “back-door searches” loophole and ensure that the government does not read Americans’ emails or other communications without a warrant. We will work to ensure that intelligence activities do not recklessly undermine confidence in American IT products and American IT employers. We will also continue to press for meaningful reforms of the outdated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court process. This should include the establishment of a strong, independent advocate to ensure that the Court hears both sides of the argument.