US President Barack Obama meets members of his Cabinet at the White House in Washington February 3, 2015. Beside Obama is Secretary of State John Kerry. [Photo/Agencies]
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has tightened rules governing how the FBI, CIA and other US intelligence agencies use the Internet and phone communications of foreigners collected by the National Security Agency.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced the new policy Tuesday. It's the latest in a series of changes stemming from the disclosures by Edward Snowden, the former NSA technician who leaked secret documents exposing surveillance programs.
The policy allows agencies to use "signals intelligence" data collected in bulk for six specific purposes: Hunting foreign spies; counterterrorism; counter-proliferation; cybersecurity; to counter threats to US or allied armed forces or personnel; and to combat transnational criminal threats.
Previously, bulk data on foreigners could be used for any authorized purpose. Data on Americans was always subject to more restrictions.