Sen. Feinstein 'open to changes' on NSA spying

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Friday she will consider forthcoming recommendations to change the National Security Agency's (NSA) controversial phone surveillance program.

"If there are alternatives that preserve the operational effectiveness of the call records program and can address privacy concerns, I am certainly open to changes," Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a vocal defender of the NSA, said in a statement.

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Next Friday, the intelligence community and the Department of Justice are scheduled to present to President Obama recommendations for reforming the NSA program that collects information about American phone calls, first exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.

"I look forward to the recommendations being prepared by Attorney General [Eric] Holder and Director [of National Intelligence James] Clapper," Feinstein said.

Obama's calls for suggested reform from the agencies come after reviews from a set of White House advisers and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board questioned the legality and efficacy of the phone data program.

In her statement Friday, Feinstein defended the program, saying it "plays an important role in detecting and preventing terrorist attacks against the United States."

“I also believe the call records program has been carried out consistent with the Constitution and the law and under strong oversight by all three branches of government," she said. "Like the president, I therefore support its continuation."