Barack Obama: We Don't Have A Domestic Spy Program
from the a-rose-by-any-other-name dept
Let's review what we know about the NSA's domestic information collection program for a moment. First, we know that the NSA is indeed harvesting an insane amount of phone record metadata produced by the American people. We also know, thanks to the leaks about the xkeyscore program, that, even if it isn't done intentionally, American email and internet communications are being slurped up by the NSA's mega-maid vacuum as well. So, we have a wide-ranging capability to suck up a ton of metadata and plain old-fashioned data on Americans, all in the name of the gods of national security. Coupled with that, we now know that not only are officials working under the direction of the administration happy to flat-out lie to Congress (the people's representatives), but congressional representatives supporting the NSA's domestic programs are equally happy to keep other representatives in the dark about all of this as well. Boiled down to a single sentence: the US government is collecting phone records and searching through at least some internet communications records of the American people and then lying and/or obfuscating about the entire endeavor.
So what does that sound like to you? Like the US government has a domestic spying program? It sure sounds like that's the case to me, but I'm not as smart as President Obama, who claims differently in an interview on The Tonight Show.
"We don't have a domestic spying program," claimed Obama, calling the controversial NSA programs "mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack."Spying, a verb meaning to observe secretly, or to discover by close observation. Huh, sounds pretty spot on to me. Now, President Obama may not be under oath on The Tonight Show, but to go on public television and simply lie to the American people is the kind of thing that used to get you impeached. But beyond procedural politics, how stupid does he think we are? And, even if he can somehow convince the majority of Americans that collecting your communications data somehow isn't spying on you, I wonder if such a frank statement might not come back to bite him in his Oval Office posterior, because Glenn Greenwald has already said that Snowden gave him at least 15,000 documents and more revelations are shortly on the way. El Presidente had damn well better be sure a damning document detailing further spying on the American people isn't in there, or a serious discussion about his being fit for office is going to be in order.
But, because irony is a dish best served by a government official, the chief executive wasn't quite done:
He confirmed that he would attend the G20 summit in St. Petersburg and that the US-Russia relationship is intact, despite disappointment with Moscow's decision to grant asylum to Snowden. There is "still a lot of business that we can do with them, but there are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking," he said.Mm-mmm! Delicious irony! Someone certainly is slipping into a cold war mentality, but I think it might just be the country that is currently running the largest world-wide surveillance operation known in human history. This is the kind of thing that would have made a KGB agent's pants explode in joy. So thanks, President Obama, for providing us not only a laugh, but a simple statement that could show your lies are even lie-ier than we already know they are.