"President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to end the bulk collection and storage of phone records by the National Security Agency but allow the government to access the metadata when needed, a senior administration official said on Monday.
If Congress approves, the Obama administration would stop collecting the information, known as metadata, which lists millions of phone calls made in the United States. The practice triggered a national debate over privacy rights when the extent of the surveillance program was exposed last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Instead, the government would have to get permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review data about the time and duration of telephone calls that it believes may be connected to terror attacks."
Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and former contractor for the NSA, came to international attention when he leaked thousands of classified documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post.
The leaked documents revealed the operational details of global surveillance program run by the NSA and the intelligence agencies of several Western countries.
These revelations opened the eyes of everyday Americans to the incredible extent that our democracy has been transformed into an invasive surveillance state where our civil liberties aren`t even speed bumps for the ruthless machinery of the Obama regime.
The release of these classified materials was a heroic and patriotic action; Snowden has been compared to Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg and American Revolution hero Paul Revere.
It`s been almost a year since Snowden (in his own words): Leaked the documents to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.
In those intervening months as the extent of the American surveillance state has been exposed, Snowden has been transformed from a dissident and a traitor to a hero and a whistleblower in the eyes of most Americans.
Snowden is still languishing as a political exile in Russia, but I hope that soon he will be living as a patriot in America.
Obama`s plan to end the bulk collection and storage of phone records by the National Security Agency is a victory and vindication for Snowden.
In order to rehabilitate his own image, restore Snowden`s reputation, and to reclaim America`s reputation as a bastion of democracy, President Obama needs to declare that Snowden won`t be prosecuted or persecuted if he returns to the United States.
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