President Obama Forgets To Thank Edward Snowden For Surveillance Reform
from the wanna-try-that-again dept
No matter what you think of the passage of the USA Freedom Act, you should be able to agree that it wouldn’t have been possible without Edward Snowden’s contributions. Even many of the Senators who were against reform are grudgingly admitting this. On the floor of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spat out that the USA Freedom Act was a “resounding victory” for Snowden as if it were some sort of insult. The only guy who seemed really confused by all of this was Rep. Pete King who somehow argued that the (very limited) reform bill spelled “defeat for ISIS, Edward Snowden and Rand Paul” which is not only wrong, but nonsensical.
For the past eighteen months, I have called for reforms that better safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of the American people while ensuring our national security officials retain tools important to keeping Americans safe. That is why, today, I welcome the Senate’s passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, which I will sign when it reaches my desk.
After needless delay and inexcusable lapse in important national security authorities, my Administration will work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country. Just as important, enactment of this legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs, including by prohibiting bulk collection through the use of Section 215, FISA pen registers, and National Security Letters and by providing the American people with additional transparency measures.
I am gratified that Congress has finally moved forward with this sensible reform legislation. I particularly applaud Senators Leahy and Lee as well as Representative Goodlatte, Sensenbrenner, Conyers, and Nadler for their leadership and tireless efforts to pass this important bipartisan achievement.
Notably missing from all that? Ed Snowden. Without him, none of this would have happened. And, it’s beyond misleading for the President to pretend that he’s the one who’s been calling for this kind of reform for 18 months. First off, that was only in response to Ed Snowden revealing the program and, second, while some of the key reforms in here needed legislative action, he could have stepped up and done some of it on his own — something his administration refused to do for 18 months.
At the very least, you’d hope that the President could acknowledge the simple fact that, like it or not, this entire process was kicked off because of Ed Snowden’s actions. Instead, the President’s chief spokesperson continues to demonize Snowden:
The fact is that Mr. Snowden committed very serious crimes, and the U.S. government and Department of Justice believe that he should face them. And that?s why we believe that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States where he will face due process, and he?ll have the opportunity — if he returned to the United States — to make that case in a court of law. But obviously our view on this is that he committed and is accused of very serious crimes.
Doesn’t anyone in the White House recognize just how silly it is to claim that it’s a “very serious crime” to reveal a program that two separate White House advisory boards, a district court and an appeals court, and multiple Senators aware of the details of the program have said is illegal and/or unconstitutional? And then to celebrate (very mild) reforms that only came about because of those actions, while at the same time calling those actions “very serious crimes”?