The 90-minute meeting came in the wake of a report by a presidentially appointed review group that concluded that the program, which gathers billions of phone call toll logs, “was not essential” to preventing terrorist attacks. The group recommended that the data be held instead by the phone companies or a private third party.
Obama has not made a decision about the program’s future but noted last month that the public’s concerns about potential abuse and privacy intrusions must be considered. He will make a speech sometime before his next State of the Union address, set for Jan. 28.
“It was clear to me that the president and his administration are wrestling with the issues now,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who attended the meeting and favors ending the bulk collection because, he said, it is too far-reaching and has not proved effective.