By Aamer Madhani and David Jackson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - President Obama announced a series of moves on Friday to improve privacy protections within National Security Agency surveillance programs, and better explain to the public how they operate.
Obama believes the new measures will help "increase transparency and restore public trust" in government surveillance programs, said a senior administration official, who asked not to be identified because president has yet to announce the plan.
Obama announced his plans at the start of his news conference this afternoon.
Obama, who last held a White House news conference about three months ago, will likely face questions on U.S.-relations of Russia, the military ouster of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt and looming budget fights with Republicans this fall.
We'll have all the details here, so please follow along with us.
3:27 p.m. Obama confirms Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellin are among those under consideration to be the next Federal Reserve chairman. They are both "outstanding candidates"
3:19 p.m. NBC's Chuck Todd asks Obama multiple questions about NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Obama's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Snowden, "No I don't see Mr. Snowden as a patriot." The fact is that Snowden's been charged with three felonies, Obama says.
He adds there were other avenues available for someone "whose conscience felt stirred." Obama complains that Snowden's leaks have come out in dribs and drabs and have unfairly set the impression that the U.S. government is spying on its citizens.
But Obama said Americans do have real questions about the surveillance programs.
"There is no doubt that Mr. Snowden';s leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response,"
On his relationship with Putin, Obama says its actually pretty good on a personal level
3:15 p.m. The first questions from Julie Pace of the Associated Press. She asks a series of questions related to the tensions between the U.S. and Russia. Obama says we have seen more "anti-American rhetoric" since Putin has come into power. The president goes on to say that he has encouraged Putin to "look forward" and "not backward."
On his decision to cancel a scheduled meeting next month with Putin in Moscow, he thought it was an appropriate time to "take a pause."
Obama added that he did not think it's appropriate to cancel U.S. participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics that Russia will host.
3:06 p.m. Obama begins his news conference, and as expected, he starts by talking about his plans for shedding more light on government surveillance. "It is not enough for me to have confidence in these programs," Obama says.
Here are some of the broad details of the plan:
--He'll start new talks with Congress to work on reforms of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which governs NSA collections.
- He'll Appoint a civil liberties and privacy advocate to argue cases and challenge the government's position before the court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
--He says wants to strengthen transparency by de-classifying more NSA and FISA court documents
- The president says he wants to appoint a new high-level group of outside experts to review the nation's surveillance laws; the advisory group will release an interim report within 60 days, and a full report by the end of the year.
3:00 p.m. President Obama hasn't yet started his news conference but David Jackson has confirmed the outlines of the reforms Obama will announce.