NSA review panel recommends sweeping changes to surveillance tactics

Draft proposals from a National Security Agency (NSA) review panel reportedly call for significant limitations to the way the agency collects and holds information, according to people close to the matter.

Citing sources familiar with the recommendations, the Wall Street Journal reports proposals for a "sweeping overhaul" of the NSA, resulting in a change in the agency's leadership from military to civilian and an end to bulk phone record collection.

The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, the presidential task force set up to review the practices of the NSA, will present their report to the White House on Sunday, though it is subject to change before then.

In a television interview last week, president Obama defended NSA surveillance but said he would be proposing certain reforms to repair some of the damage done to the agency following the spying revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"Part of what we're trying to do over the next month or so is, having done an independent review and brought a whole bunch of folks, civil libertarians and lawyers and others to examine what's being done," Obama said. "I'll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA and to initiate some reforms that can give people more confidence."

NSA Director General Keith Alexander said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the phone record collection was "a good model, not just for our country but for the rest of the world."

"If we could come up with a better way, we ought to put it on the table and argue our way through it," he said. "The issue that I see right now is that there isn't a better way."