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President Obama’s Message to Team USA

President Obamas says congratulations and good luck to everyone representing the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Live @ 9PM ET: 2014 State of the Union: Enhanced Broadcast

While President Barack Obama’s attempts to increase the nation’s minimum wage through legislation have stalled in Congress, the White House announced plans on Tuesday to use the president’s executive powers to partially address the problem.

Just hours before the President is scheduled to deliver his fifth State of the Union address, the White House revealed that Obama will issue an executive order to increase the minimum wage for new federal contract workers.

The action will cover all workers employed under future government contracts, ensuring that none is paid less than $10.10 an hour.

2014 State of the Union: Enhanced Broadcast - Begins @ 9PM ET

2014 State of the Union Address. 1/28. 9PM ET.
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Weekly Address: Making 2014 a Year of Action to Expand Opportunities for the Middle Class

FACT SHEET: Review of U.S. Signals Intelligence

The White House | Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release | January 17, 2014

In the latter half of 2013 and early 2014, the United States Government undertook a broad-ranging and unprecedented review of our signals intelligence programs, led by the White House with relevant Departments and Agencies across the Government. In addition to our own intensive work, the review process drew on input from key stakeholders, including Congress, the tech community, civil society, foreign partners, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and others.  The Administration’s review examined how, in light of new and changing technologies, we can use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security while supporting our foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining the public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures. On January 17, 2014, the President delivered a speech at the Department of Justice to announce the outcomes of this review process.

In that speech, the President made clear that the men and women of the U.S. intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow those protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people and are not abusing authorities. When mistakes have been made, they have corrected those mistakes.  But for our intelligence community to be effective over the long haul, we must maintain the trust of the American people, and people around the world. To that end, the Administration has developed a path forward that we believe should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, while preserving important tools that keep us safe, and that addresses significant questions that have been raised overseas.  Today the President announced the Administration’s adoption of a series of concrete and substantial reforms that the Administration will adopt administratively or seek to codify with Congress, to include a majority of the recommendations made by the Review Group.

New Presidential Policy Directive

Today, President Obama issued a new presidential policy directive for our signals intelligence activities, at home and abroad. This directive lays out new principles that govern how we conduct signals intelligence collection, and strengthen how we provide executive branch oversight of our signals intelligence activities.  It will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances; our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of our companies; and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties. And we will review decisions about intelligence priorities and sensitive targets on an annual basis, so that our actions are regularly scrutinized by the President’s senior national security team.

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Presidential Policy Directive — Signals Intelligence Activities

The White House | Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release | January 17, 2014

PRESIDENTIAL POLICY DIRECTIVE/PPD-28

The United States, like other nations, has gathered intelligence throughout its history to ensure that national security and foreign policy decisionmakers have access to timely, accurate, and insightful information.

The collection of signals intelligence is necessary for the United States to advance its national security and foreign policy interests and to protect its citizens and the citizens of its allies and partners from harm. At the same time, signals intelligence activities and the possibility that such activities may be improperly disclosed to the public pose multiple risks. These include risks to: our relationships with other nations, including the cooperation we receive from other nations on law enforcement, counterterrorism, and other issues; our commercial, economic, and financial interests, including a potential loss of international trust in U.S. firms and the decreased willingness of other nations to participate in international data sharing, privacy, and regulatory regimes; the credibility of our commitment to an open, interoperable, and secure global Internet; and the protection of intelligence sources and methods.

In addition, our signals intelligence activities must take into account that all persons should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their nationality or wherever they might reside, and that all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information.

In determining why, whether, when, and how the United States conducts signals intelligence activities, we must weigh all of these considerations in a context in which information and communications technologies are constantly changing. The evolution of technology has created a world where communications important to our national security and the communications all of us make as part of our daily lives are transmitted through the same channels. This presents new and diverse opportunities for, and challenges with respect to, the collection of intelligence – and especially signals intelligence. The United States Intelligence Community (IC) has achieved remarkable success in developing enhanced capabilities to perform its signals intelligence mission in this rapidly changing world, and these enhanced capabilities are a major reason we have been able to adapt to a dynamic and challenging security environment.1

The 1 For the purposes of this directive, the terms “Intelligence Community” and “elements of the Intelligence Community” shall have the same meaning as they do in Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981, as amended (Executive Order 12333).

United States must preserve and continue to develop a robust and technologically advanced signals intelligence capability to protect our security and that of our partners and allies. Our signals intelligence capabilities must also be agile enough to enable us to focus on fleeting opportunities or emerging crises and to address not only the issues of today, but also the issues of tomorrow, which we may not be able to foresee.

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Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court’s permission before accessing the records.

The president also directed intelligence agencies to stop spying on friendly international leaders and called for extending some privacy protections to foreign citizens whose communications are scooped up by the U.S.

Obama was announcing the changes during a highly anticipated speech at the Justice Department. His announcements capped a months-long White House review following former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden’s leaks about secret surveillance programs. If fully implemented, the president’s proposals would lead to significant changes to the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records, which is authorized under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.