Obama Weighing Security and Privacy in Deciding on Spy Program Limits

If President Obama adopts the most far-reaching recommendations of the advisory group he set up to rein in the National Security Agency, much would change underneath the giant antennas that sprout over Fort Meade, Md., where America’s electronic spies and cyberwarriors have operated with an unprecedented amount of freedom since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.No longer would a team of two dozen or so agency analysts be able to type into a computer that there was a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” about the person behind an American telephone number and, in seconds, see every call made to and from that phone — followed by the same records for hundreds or thousands of their contacts. Instead, an individual court order would have to be obtained — a far slower process that, just months ago, Mr. Obama’s intelligence team insisted would be too cumbersome in halting attacks.

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