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Reuters leak: Obama will stop NSA snooping on phone records

Since it was announced by a senior White House official last week that US President Barrack Obama was in the final stages of a verdict on reform of the American National Security Agency (NSA), speculation has been rife about what exactly this reform would entail.

Now, as the world prepares to hear what the US President has to say, Reuters has leaked what it believes to be a foreshadowing of the coming announcement.

According to early reports by the international news agency, Obama is set to announce that measures that will prevent the NSA from automatically querying its sprawling database of private telephone records without a "judicial finding" to support each search.

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.

Last week a White House aide told the press that the President is "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."

On Monday, it was announced that the decision would come today.

Last month, draft proposals from an NSA review panel revealed 46 recommendations that would see significant limitations to the way the agency collects and stores data.

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.

"This is really crunchtime," Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate intelligence committee who has advocated a major surveillance overhaul, told the Washington Post.

"This is when major decisions about the new rules as it relates to surveillance are going to be made."

The NSA has come under growing international scrutiny since revelations of its widespread snooping were released to the press by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a Senate hearing last month, soon-to-be-departing NSA Director General Keith Alexander said: "If we could come up with a better way, we ought to put it on the table and argue our way through it. The issue that I see right now is that there isn't a better way."

Today it was revealed that the NSA gathered 200 million text messages a day in an operation codenamed "Dishfire."