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Obama ‘close to the end’ of NSA review

President Barack Obama is in the final stages of a review focussing on the practices of the National Security Agency, according to a White House official.

A decision is expected to be made before 28 January as to whether the controversial mass surveillance powers of the NSA will be reined in.

As part of the review process the US president has been involved in talks with leaders of intelligence agencies, as well as key congressional leaders.

"He is still soliciting input, which he did today, and reviewing the scope of the matter and some of the ideas that were presented, for example in the review group report, which was released publicly," a White House official said yesterday.

"He's obviously close to the end of this review, in a sense that he will be giving remarks about his conclusions and the steps forward he wants to take within the next couple of weeks or before 28 January."

Last month draft proposals from a NSA review panel reportedly called for significant limitations to the data collection powers of the agency, suggesting a "sweeping overhaul" of the NSA.

Obama himself hinted that reforms were on their way, saying in a television interview around the time the draft proposals were leaked that he would be enforcing "some self-restraint" on the NSA.

The White House official added: "This will be an important milestone in the process and a conclusion in many respects for this review, but not all of the work will be done, simply because these recommendations are being acted on."