President Obama directed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday to establish a review group that would assess the U.S. intelligence community’s technical capabilities.
The group, according to a Presidential Memorandum, would review whether the technical capabilities of the U.S. intelligence community are employed in a manner that “optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust.”
No mention of the Fourth Amendment was made in the memorandum. The U.S. intelligence community maintains that it does not need a warrant as required under the Fourth Amendment to collect the communications metadata of Americans.
The Review Group is expected to brief Obama on its “interim findngs” by October 11. It is also expected to provide Clapper with a final report and recommendations by December 15.
Following the initial disclosures about the National Security Agency’s collection of American’s phone records by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Clapper came under fire for lying to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden about whether the U.S. government was collecting the phone records of millions of Americans.
Clapper would later apologize for what he says was, in his own words, “clearly erroneous” statement, but only after calls were made by the program’s critics for his impeachment.