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.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 10:51am

    Truth by technicality

    It's true that the US has no domestic spying programs, but what it does have is 'foreign' spying programs that 'accidentally, just so happen' to scoop up and use data on americans as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 10:54am

    He's right!

    We don't have a domestic spy program.

    It's a GLOBAL spy program!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:06am

    How stupid does he think we are? He with the rest of the daily lying and special interests folks up in congress learned how stupid we were upon their election into office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:08am

    "Barack Obama: We Don't Have A Domestic Spy Program"

    If his idea was to do an impersonation of "Jay Leno delivering his unfunny monologue", then he nailed it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wally (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:17am

    In Some Unknown Paradoxile Universe....

    They say that in Disney's Aladdin, Jafar won, and is now President of the United States....

    I can just imagine Obama holding that cobra staff up to us trying desperately to get all the diamond in the rough hypnotized.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:25am

    That's not what the Guardian and even now the NYTimes is reporting, Mr. President.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/broader-sifting-of-data-abroad-is-seen-by-nsa.htm l?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RyanNerd (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:26am

    Two can play at this word game. Here's my comment to Obummer:

    Notwithstanding the fact that you not calling the NSA a domestic surveillance program could conceivably encompass certain concomitant benefits of a marginal and peripheral relevance, there is a countervailing consideration of infinitely superior magnitude involving your personal complicity and corroborative malfeasance, with a consequence that the taint and stigma of your former associations and diversions have irredeemably and irretrievably invalidated your position and hopefully will culminate in public revelations and recriminations of your profoundly embarrassing and ultimately indefensible character.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:27am

    Twisting the meaning of words to be what they are not, laying claim that some program charged with this are that actually does something else, and the weasle words that say one thing but mean something else may be fine and dandy for those that think it makes it alright.

    However to the average Joe, spying on what you do, be it mail, email, phone, or whatever is still plain out old spying. There won't be enough difference between what he sees the government doing and what he calls it to be any difference at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:28am

    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 sad truth and I think US Corporations are going to feel the effects. It doesn't matter how cheap a service provider like Google, Apple, Amazon, RackSpace, etc can host the services. If global markets don't feel safe purchasing from US corporations, they will bring those services back home. Hopefully, it doesn't end up like Post WWII when the massive exodus out of Berlin started up the Eastern Bloc building the wall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:29am

    I misread that statement as "I am not a crook!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:34am

    Chinese Govt President: we don't have a domestic censorship program. We are just harmonizing our citizens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:43am

    Of course we have domestic spying! Called Google and Facebook.

    Just in case anyone has forgotten or overlooked the obvious as Obama does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      pixelpusher220 (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:01pm

      Re: Of course we have domestic spying! Called Google and Facebook.

      'spying' i.e. secret. Neither Facebook or Google are anything at all resembling 'secret' about what they do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:47am

    Oh, shoot! Thread already hijacked by trolls debating whether Obama is Vulcan or Romulan!

    This time I should have read the other comments before posting, as being in this childish mix doesn't reflect well on me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:51am

      Re: Oh, shoot! Thread already hijacked by trolls debating whether Obama is Vulcan or Romulan!

      You could probably just omit "in this childish mix" out of that sentence and it'd still be true....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      AC Unknown (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 1:10pm

      Re: Oh, shoot! Thread already hijacked by trolls debating whether Obama is Vulcan or Romulan!

      Get off the internet, please. Oh, and don't breathe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:57am

    I voted for Obama, twice, and I believe he should be impeached over these spying programs. I also believe the NSA should be defunded and shut down for good. I've lost faith completely in my government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      LivingInNavarre (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      Out of curiosity did you not listen to his words carefully before voting for him? Once you stopped listening to the 'promises' you realized this is one scary dude and has some really twisted ideas for the future of America.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        mischab1, 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re:

        Personally, I only voted for him last time because I thought between democrat and republican he was the least bad option. In hind-sight, I wish I had voted 3rd party. It probably wouldn't have changed anything but I would feel less complicit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 8:05pm

      Re:

      You have to get a blow job from an intern to get impeached. Lying to the public, gets you a second term in power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous, 9 Aug 2013 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re:

        And if you get a blow job from an intern AND lie to the public, you get impeached AND a second term in power...just like Clinton!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 11:59am

    WOW! Stupid is as stupid does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:18pm

    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.

    You can't impeach the first black president!!! Why? Because he's BLACK!!! We have to support him no matter what because to do otherwise would be racist!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      Oh, please.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 1:22pm

      Re:

      Thanks for confirming the suspicions I already had about you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re:

        Both of you need to get your sarcasm meters checked...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rekrul, 8 Aug 2013 @ 2:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The really disappointing thing is that for some people, that isn't sarcasm. :(

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Wally (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What is even more disturbing about the sarcastic statement is that it does hold to some truth. People I know actually admitted to voting for him just because he was African American. Heck, that is the only thing that got him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and due to his current leadership actions, the Nobel Committee is delaying the vote and granting of the Peace Prize.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          My bad. I'll invoke Poe's law on this one. That piece of sarcasm is completely indistinguishable from serious sentiments I see from time to time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rekrul, 8 Aug 2013 @ 7:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            My bad. I'll invoke Poe's law on this one. That piece of sarcasm is completely indistinguishable from serious sentiments I see from time to time.

            For future reference, I don't use multiple exclamation points unless I'm exaggerating. :)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alt0, 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:23pm

    What else does Snowden Have?

    I have no idea why this thread made me think of it...But what if Snowden can produce the missing time from the Watergate Tapes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ryfte, 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Was there ever any question?

    So, Obama lied to the public, in the media. Hmm, is this news somehow? Was anyone really surprised at all in fact? I might ask instead; when has Obama *NOT* lied to the public? You're going to get a much smaller number of situations that fit that parameter after all.

    It would be amusing if it wasn't true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PRMan, 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:29pm

    You forgot...

    And they're handing all that data over to the FBI, IRS and every other agency and then framing people...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 12:32pm

    Maybe he's been studying reality distortion fields a la Steve Jobs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 1:00pm

    His statement is factual - the US does not have a DOMESTIC spying program; it only has a program to spy on foreign nationals and known terrorists .. and anyone that they may directly or indirectly have contact with.
    Of course, since, in the 'Net, you can connect any two people in the world in an average of four "hops", and that means everyone in the world - including every US citizen - is indirectly connected to foreign nationals or terrorists ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 1:28pm

    There should be public votes every year to strike down bad laws and governmental abuse of power and replace the sources if necessary.

    Examples -
    A vote on whether to keep the Patriot Act or something else.
    A vote to decide if we need to fire any elected officials.

    With the power kicked back to the public our elected officials would not be so fast to fuck up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 2:32pm

    I thought the NSA was sharing information with the DEA. Does the DEA operate outside of America? I thought the DEA was a domestic agency...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:29pm

    aahh shit Obama just tried to Jedi mind trick us

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:36pm

    Youtube: Denver Official Guilty Dog Video

    That is how I picture Obama when he is saying "we don't spy on the American people".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I'm a fucking Liar, 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:37pm

    I lie

    My name is Barack Obama, and I'm here to tell you that I'm a liar. Not only does our government lie, we also assassinate and murder people, including Americans. We overthrow governments, fund terrorist groups, and break numerous constitutional laws. So fuck you if you don't like it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2013 @ 5:14am

      Re: I lie

      I kind of want to see that statement animated and put on YouTube.

      Just need a quality animator and quality Obama impersonator.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2013 @ 4:15pm

    i dont want to appear to be rude but wh is he trying to fucking kid? does he think that because the people dont work for the government, they are thick? when that same government is reading all messages from all sources and listening to all voice calls from all quarters, what does Obama call it then? a sleep over?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DerekCurrie (profile), 8 Aug 2013 @ 9:16pm

    Suppressed: FISA Courts Find Their Own Behavior To Be Unconstitutional

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/justice-department-electronic-frontier-foundation-fisa-c ourt-opinion

    Headline:
    Justice Department Fights Release of Secret Court Opinion Finding Unconstitutional Surveillance
    Government lawyers are trying to keep buried a classified court finding that a domestic spying program went too far.
    óBy David Corn | Fri Jun. 7, 2013 12:22 PM PDT, Mother Jones

    "In the midst of revelations that the government has conducted extensive top-secret surveillance operations to collect domestic phone records and internet communications, the Justice Department was due to file a court motion Friday in its effort to keep secret an 86-page court opinion that determined that the government had violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying.
    . . . .
    in July 2012, Wyden was able to get the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify two statements that he wanted to issue publicly. They were:

    "* On at least one occasion the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held that some collection carried out pursuant to the Section 702 minimization procedures used by the government was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

    * I believe that the government's implementation of Section 702 of FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] has sometimes circumvented the spirit of the law, and on at least one occasion the FISA Court has reached this same conclusion."

    Mr. President, We The People don't tolerate destroying the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution OR being lied to about unconstitutional government crimes. We don't care what party you puppets you. It's time for your impeachment, you criminal liar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 9 Aug 2013 @ 12:55pm

    To my fellow Americans...

    I apologize unreservedly. I voted for this guy. Not twice, thank the gods, but once was bad enough. The atrocious mess he has made of our civil rights, of whistleblowers pointing out criminal activity and being crushed for it, of playing the proverbial fiddle while the constitution burned... It's partly my fault.

    I used to be a card carrying republican. I left that party about 15 years ago when it became clear they were not remotely the 'party of Lincoln' anymore. I thought I might be better off voting for Democrats, but it is clearly not the case.

    I know it is an empty gesture, but i will from this point on be voting only for independents and 3rd party candidates. At least that way my poor judgement will have minimal impact.

    I hope you can all forgive me in time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 9 Aug 2013 @ 10:36pm

    Obama is telling the truth, the US government has No Such Agency spying on the American people...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jose_X, 19 Aug 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Lying?

    The US has a "warrantless search program" because a few exceptional circumstances exist (eg, being in hot pursuit) or because a few officers did not follow proper procedures at some point in time?

    That seems to be what we are supposed to believe from the article, that if exceptions exist, that anyone saying we don't have such a program is lying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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