The National Security Agency has recommended the White House drop the controversial phone surveillance program that was secretly launched during the George W. Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
The program, which collects metadata on U.S. phone calls and text messages, was started without a court order, and its existence wasn't known until former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked information to journalists about it in 2013. After saying for years that the program is a key tool in finding and thwarting terrorism plots, senior NSA officials now believe its many logistical and legal issues outweigh any intelligence benefits, the Journal reports.
Earlier this year, the NSA had to stop the program due to "frustrations about legal-compliance issues," several people told the Journal. While it is authorized by Congress, the White House ultimately decides whether to press for the program's renewal. If the White House follows the NSA's recommendation, the program's legal authority will expire in December. Catherine Garcia