Obama: Checks & Balances Work Great To Prevent Abuse By NSA... But, Perhaps We Could Fix Things
from the say-what-now dept
"What I can say with confidence is that when it comes to our domestic operation, the concerns that people have back home in the United States of America, that we do not surveil the American people or persons within the United States, that there are a lot of checks and balances in place designed to avoid a surveillance state," Obama said. "There have been times where the procedures, because these are human endeavors, have not worked the way they should and we had to tighten them up. And I think there are legitimate questions that have been raised about the fact that as technology advances and capabilities grow, it may be that the laws that are currently in place are not sufficient to guard against the dangers of us being able to track so much."Once again, that first part -- the part he says "with confidence" -- is a lie. We've already seen plenty of evidence that while the NSA insists that it doesn't surveil people within the US, it appears to do so regularly. Of course, since it classifies these as "incidental," it doesn't think they count, but they do. No, it may not be watching every single thing that US citizens do, but US citizens' data are clearly captured and analyzed quite frequently.
That said, the second part of that statement is actually a tiny step forward, in that it's President Obama actually signalling -- for the first time -- that the program has been abused and that new rules are possible. Many people will complain that it's such a minor statement (and coming right after a flat out lie, not particularly trustworthy), but it is more or less a signal that the President is likely resolved to agree to changes in how the NSA operates. Now the fight will be over what kinds of changes. The administration will seek to minimize those changes, but just the admission that changes need to happen is at least a baby step in the right direction.