Obama's Response To NSA Surveillance: Some Minor Reforms & Transparency; Still Lacking Justification
from the uh,-not-good-enough dept
- Consider some "reforms" of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and will reveal more details of the government's secret legal interpretation under Section 215 that allows them to hoover up all data on every communication. That document has been released, and will be discussed in a future post.
- Improve "public confidence" in the FISA court (FISC) with greater transparency about FISC decisions and support for a civil liberties advocate playing a role in "appropriate cases" so that the judges don't just hear from one side. This reform has been suggested a few times and isn't a terrible one, but does have some logistical problems.
- Set up a website to increase transparency. Yeah, sure.
- Set up a group of "outside experts" to review the whole program. Seems a bit late for that.
In answering questions, he insisted the two key programs being discussed, Section 215 of the Patriot Act and 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, were critical to finding important intelligence -- despite the fact that multiple Senators have insisted that there remains no evidence that Section 215 was necessary in any terrorist case.
All in all this seems like a PR scramble by the an administration that realizes it's on the losing side of the public debate. The promises seem pretty weak and hollow. The idea that he was already moving in this direction before the Snowden leaks is simply laughable. Section 702 was just renewed eight months ago and his administration fought very hard against any detailed analysis and any amendment to the law. Reality just doesn't support these claims.