Obama defends NSA surveillance

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

President Obama defended the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance programs on Friday but said he will seriously weigh recommendations for reform from his review panel on the subject.

"We need this intelligence. We can't unilaterally disarm," Obama said during his end-of-the-year news conference.

He said he is confident the NSA is "not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around," but that, given the public outrage following the leaks by Edward Snowden, reforms are necessary to restore the public's trust.

Obama's review panel released a report this week calling for major restrictions on the NSA, including changes to its bulk collection of U.S. phone records. Under the group's plan, private companies would hold the phone records, and the NSA could obtain access with orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Read more on The Hill.