Obama to call for changes to Patriot Act, surveillance of Americans

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In a policy shift intended to quell growing public unease, President Obama will call on Congress to change the Patriot Act to increase oversight, and will ask Congress to consider allowing adversaries to challenge government lawyers for the first time in the secret court that authorizes surveillance.

Responding in part to disclosures of classified programs by former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, Obama is considering proposals to restrict the National Security Agency from secretly collecting Americans’ telephone calling records.

He also is considering proposals to create a permanent staff of lawyers to advocate for the public, or to allow outside groups to file “amicus briefs,” in cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, according to senior administration officials. The goal, they said, is to ensure the 11 judges on the court hear a voice raising civil liberties concerns.

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