BS: The NSA Scandal/Snowden
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BS: The NSA Scandal/Snowden

Songwronger 07 Jun 13 - 11:17 PM
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Subject: BS: The NSA Scandal
From: Songwronger
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 11:17 PM

"That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing but protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient." -- Obama, running for president in 2007

And now, a new scandal, the NSA scandal:

...At issue is the disclosure of a highly classified court order—issued by a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—that forced a Verizon subsidiary to hand over on a daily basis to the NSA call logs for all of its customers....

This is a sweeping surveillance program—the sort of activity that two Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee, Mark Udall of Colorado and Ron Wyden of Oregon, have been complaining about for years. The pair have warned that the government was engaged in a surveillance program under the Patriot Act that went beyond what most people would assume permissible given a reasonable interpretation of that law. They have not been able to reveal details of the classified activity in public, but the two senators have noted that Americans would be alarmed if they knew what was going on....

Another administration official was explicit on this point, noting that Congress was regularly briefed on this and that if this is a scandal, the Hill is complicit. The White House's pushback goal is obvious: get reporters to ask Congress, what did you know and when did you know it?

Perhaps the White House can spread the responsibility. But the program was initiated and run by the executive branch. It will justifiably draw much criticism, which may resonate more widely than the in-the-media outrage over the Justice Department snooping on the Associated Press and a Fox News reporter. "This is a truly stunning revelation," Elizabeth Goitein, codirector of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told the Washington Post. "This suggests that the government has been compiling a comprehensive record of Americans' associations and possibly even their whereabouts." After Benghazi and the IRS, the White House may finally have to confront a real controversy over a program it truly owns.


Barack Obama promised the American people "nobody is listening to your telephone calls" as he faced deepening questions over whether he had allowed the US surveillance state to run out of control.

Speaking on the eve of a major US-China summit in California, Mr Obama was forced to push back against accusations that his administration had expanded on Bush-era surveillance systems that he had once campaigned against.

Under intense fire from both the liberal Left and libertarian Right for trampling on Constitutional freedoms, the president defended secret programmes which collect data on hundreds of millions of US phone calls and harvest huge amounts of online information about foreigners.

Mr Obama, who as a candidate accused George W Bush of making a "false choice" between liberty and security, found himself accused of carrying on a "fourth Bush term" after embracing the same surveillance apparatus designed by his predecessor.

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