President Obama met Thursday with lawmakers to discuss the controversial surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency.
The meeting took place in the Oval Office will focus on lawmakers who are concerned about Americans' privacy and are pushing to corral the NSA's and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's authority.
Although it admits some changes are likely inevitable, the Obama administration has been arguing for the need to keep its surveillance powers as is.
The bipartisan, bicameral meeting included the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; as well as vocal NSA critics Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mark Udall, D-Colo.
Also attending were Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.; Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.; House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; and former Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who authored the Patriot Act and has argued that what the NSA is doing is outside the scope of the original law.
Following the meeting, Wyden said he "felt the president was open to ideas. And we are going to make sure he has some.
"I made it clear I want to end the bulk phone record collection program because I think it is an intrusion on privacy and I am open for example on areas like these emergency authorities to make sure that our government is in a position to get information needed to protect the public." he continued.
Prior to the meeting with Mr. Obama, Wyden, and Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced a bill that would add, the senators hope, more transparency to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which authorized the NSA surveillance exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
"This court is an anomaly in a democratic, open transparent government," Blumenthal said.
The senators propose adding judges to the court to promote ideological diversity and also adding a special advocate to argue, if a FISA judge feels it's necessary, for those targeted by the NSA.
"You have secret surveillance ... interpreted by a novel court that's one-sided," Wyden said.
The senators are trying to "unstack the deck," Wyden continued, "and make sure you're not just hearing one side of the discussion."
Earlier Thursday, Russia granted Snowden asylum for one year. The Obama administration is reevaluating whether Mr. Obama will agree to a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, when the G20 Summit will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step,".