Just last week, we questioned how President Obama could make his claims about the NSA not abusing its power knowing
full well that there were reports showing massive, widespread abuse, happening thousands of times per year. It just seemed bizarre. Yes, politicians lie, but they generally tell half-truths or misleading truths and they rarely make a definitive statement like that which can be shown to be plainly wrong so soon after it was made. Of course, most in the press have avoided calling the President a liar, but David Sirota, over at Salon, is realizing that we've probably reached the point where it's at least a valid question
to ask if President Obama flat out lied to the American public about NSA surveillance. As he notes, the only realistic alternative, given the most recent leaks, is that the President was ignorant of the NSA's abuses, and neither of those options speaks well about the President.
So sure, I guess it’s possible Obama has merely been “wrong” but has not been lying. But the implications of that would be just as bad — albeit in a different way — as if he were deliberately lying. It would mean that he is making sweeping and wildly inaccurate statements without bothering to find out if they are actually true. Worse, for him merely to be wrong but not deliberately lying, it would mean that he didn’t know the most basic facts about how his own administration runs. It would, in other words, mean he is so totally out of the loop on absolutely everything — even the public news cycle — that he has no idea what’s going on.
Except, as he noted (as did we in our post last week), this is almost impossible. There's almost no way that the President was unaware of what was happening. And that leads to the inevitable conclusion: the President was just flat out lying.
I just don’t buy that he’s so unaware of the world around him that he made such statements from a position of pure ignorance. On top of that, he has a motive. Yes, Obama has an obvious political interest in trying to hide as much of his administration’s potentially illegal behavior as possible, which means he has an incentive to calculatedly lie. For all of these reasons, it seems safe to suggest that when it comes to the NSA situation, the president seems to be lying.
Further, Sirota wonders, for the DC press who seem to be afraid to call out the lies, shouldn't they at least be asking how the President could be "so completely unaware of what his government is doing?" It seems like a valid question.