Statement by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco: Update on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reform and Issuance of PPD-28

On January 17, 2014, President Obama directed a series of signals intelligence reforms designed to reassure every American that our nation’s intelligence activities are carried out with appropriate oversight and respect for civil liberties and privacy. That same day, he also signed Presidential Policy Directive – 28, Signals Intelligence Activities (PPD-28), which reaffirms long-standing collection principles, sets certain limitations on the use of signals intelligence collected in bulk, refines the process for collecting signals intelligence – including an annual Cabinet-level review of prioritization and an evaluation of risks and benefits – and establishes safeguards for personal information collected through signals intelligence. At the President’s direction, future implementation of these reforms will be the subject of an annual report.

For the past year, the Administration has been working to implement the President’s guidance. Today, the Director of National Intelligence is releasing a report that highlights substantial progress and reflects an ongoing commitment to greater transparency. This report details, among other things, the Intelligence Community’s progress in implementing PPD-28, reforms regarding the collection of bulk telephony metadata records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the collection of intelligence under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the use of national security letters.

In the coming days, a report will be released highlighting the progress the Administration has made in implementing the initiatives discussed in the May 2014 Big Data Report prepared by a working group led by Counselor to the President John Podesta. Beyond the initiatives discussed in these reports, the Administration has also been implementing recommendations made by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.

These reports and the progress made to date will be discussed in upcoming meetings with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and others.

As the President indicated in PPD-28, our signals intelligence activities must take into account that all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information. At the same time, we must ensure that our Intelligence Community has the resources and authorities necessary for the United States to advance its national security and foreign policy interests and to protect its citizens and the citizens of its allies and partners from harm. As we continue to face threats from terrorism, proliferation, and cyber-attacks, we must use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security and supports our foreign policy while keeping the public trust and respecting privacy and civil liberties.

Via Whitehouse.gov