President Obama’s call for Congress to reform National Security Agency laws is already sparking a pitched battle between lawmakers who are defenders of the NSA’s surveillance activities and critics who say the government is abusing civil liberties.

Several Republican lawmakers on Friday said Obama was wrong to call for changes to programs that are working, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president should have done a better job in explaining the existing programs.

Minutes after Obama began speaking, however, Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced new hearings that will explain the scope and purpose of the programs, signaling congressional Democrats are ready to back the president.

Yet the divisions over the NSA programs could make the legislative battle particularly complicated.

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