Obama's Response To Too Much Secrecy About Surveillance... Is More Secrecy

from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept

Anita Kumar, a reporter at McClatchy, has a good article highlighting how, for all the talk by the Obama administration about how it needs to be more open and transparent about what the NSA is doing, in actuality, the administration has built up the walls even higher, increasing the levels of secrecy... including secrecy about how he's responded to everything:
Obama has been gradually tweaking his vast government surveillance policies. But he is not disclosing those changes to the public. Has he stopped spying on friendly world leaders? He won’t say. Has he stopped eavesdropping on the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? He won’t say.

Even the report by the group Obama created to review and recommend changes to his surveillance programs has been kept secret.
As is noted in the article, the administration, which likes to pretend it's the most transparent in history, is actually one of the most secretive. Its attempts at transparency have almost exclusively been focused on where it can get the most political bang, not for what areas people expect the government to be transparent about -- such as how it interprets the laws that allow the government to spy on everyone...

What's incredible is that it appears that no one high up in the administration seems to recognize how this is a strategy that will almost certainly make things worse, not better. It may be how the administration is used to functioning, but it makes it much more difficult to believe anything that is said about a supposed "vigorous public debate" being held on the surveillance activities. It also means that as more leaks come out revealing more questionable practices, the constant backtracking and excuses will just destroy whatever credibility the administration has left on this issue. If, instead, it were to actually be transparent and simply reveal things like how it interprets the law, and allows for a real public discussion on these matters, that would actually result in some frank discussions that the administration seems terrified of actually having.

Extreme secrecy may seem like the easier short-term strategy, but it's just digging an ever deeper hole that the administration is going to have to try to climb out of in the long-term. Hiding reality from a public that's going to find out eventually is just making the problem worse.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Obama's legacy...

    Worse than Nixon's.

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 6:44pm

    you always write about reporters, and not the facts they reported !!! why is that ? lazy ?

    it's always the same "look at what this reported has reported about someone else talking about something else".

    it's never originally sourced, you never write "look at what this person said", it's "look at what I have googled about this reporter saying something"..

    here I will copy/paste it for you!!, after all its so much easier than doing your own work !!

    why respond to a report who is responding to his/her opinion of what someone else things that is going on.

    Do you not have access to what Obama has publicly stated, or are you just lazy ?

    do you not see how this strategy almost always makes things worse and not better !!

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Guardian, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 6:51pm

    israeli spies are part of hollywood

    is joe biden a spy for israel?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 6:54pm

    Obama's bootlegged reality distortion field is malfunctioning.

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 6:56pm

    Worse than Nixon's.

    probably only because nixon didn't have the means, but, yes, worse than nixon's.

     

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  6.  
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    Pixelation, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:17pm

    Obummer

    Thank God for term limits.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:24pm

    Just another silver-tongued swindler feeding you lies while their thieving hands pilfer your pockets.
    It's become standard for things to mean the exact polar opposite of what is said.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Jason, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:30pm

    Why

    Why would Obama want transparency?

    Like you said that would cause a debate on policies.

    But since Obama is always right their is no need for that debate and therefore no need for transparency.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:48pm

    I've pointed out before that the statement Obama made about being glad to have a debate over the NSA spying and him actually doing that are two different things. This administration has the hallmarks of using National Security and Confidential Documents as the method to prevent these facts from coming out or from being challenged in court.

    His intention of a debate ended when he stated he was willing. To actually get him in one will be dragging him out into it because he can no longer ignore it as damage control.

     

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

  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    The Obamanigger, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Obummer

    I'll be back!

     

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

  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:58pm

    Re:

    You always write about Masnick, and not what he reports? Why is that? Oh, right. You're a complete fucktard when it comes to trying to pass yourself off as intelligent.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    Re: you always write about reporters, and not the facts they reported !!! why is that ? lazy ?

    Its called credibility. I believe what I hear about obama when it comes from techdirt and slashdot.

    I dont care anymore about the actual stories, only whether or not the truth is being told.

    Techdirt/slashdot tell me the ending of the story in a way I am willing to believe. The original story has no value to me anymore, I dont care about why obama is a piece of crap, I already know that.

    A lie from the president is a lie from the president, I dont give a crap anymore what the lie was about and I dont need the lie quoted or sourced for me. I only want to know if that idiot has been lying about stuff again.

    Credibility (techdirt and slashdot) means you dont have to prove anything anymore because people know your telling the truth from your past actions. Something the president doesnt understand.

     

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  13.  
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    PopeRatzo (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Obama's legacy...

    Heck, it's even worse than Reagan's.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    You can't let a 23 billion dollar spy center out in the middle of the Utah desert go to waste. Hopefully in the future, the NSA will be sitting on 1 billion gigabytes of encrypted internet traffic.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:13pm

    Re:

    ...and you are always complaining about who is doing the write up and what they are doing wrong in your eyes. I notice you are not doing too well in the creditability department yourself with the continual refusal to actually engage in debate with those that call you out on your misstatements.

    Face it, you have no creditability. That's why you are constantly seeing your posts hidden by the community through the report vote. Speaking of which, have another.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:51pm

    go ahead put someone else in there.

    p.s. won't change a thing

     

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  17. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re:

    probably because he does not report on anything, he 'reports' on what other reports (or real reporters) are saying.

    I find that disappointing, its not hard to search google for 'terms' and quote what other reporters are saying. It's harder to actually do your own work, and report on things first hand.

    It's not masnicks fault, if he does not have those skills fair enough..

     

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  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re:

    I would love to engage Masnick in a debate on the issues, just as soon as he expresses his own opinion that is, I am not going to bother debating him on the comments from someone else.

    There is little point in debating Mr Masnick about what someone else said, or their opinion. If I wanted to do that I would debate from the source of the original article.

    If Masnick cant form his own arguments, he should not expect people to argue what others are saying and masnick is parroting.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:22pm

    Re: Obummer

    How does that make sense? The last time someone didn't have term limits, they had four terms and damn near passed a second Bill of Rights.

    Or do you think FDR was a bad president?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you don't see the value of a site aggregating news around certain topics, you are indeed lacking in the grey matter department.

    It's not your fault, your parents probably dropped you a few times when you were little.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 1:21am

    Re: Obummer

    Thank God for term limits.
    You could in fact argue the opposite... He could well be thinking "If I can just keep obfuscating exactly how bad things are for a couple more years, then it'll be someone else's problem when it blows up completely and it won't be my legacy that looks shit".
    People/history only tend to remember the big bang of the dam letting go, not the trickling leak that eroded it from the inside in the first place.

     

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  22.  
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    Tigger (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 2:23am

    To quote Terry Pratchett's 'The Truth'

    'And these are your reasons, my lord?'
    'Do you think I have others?' said Lord Vetinari. 'My motives, as ever, are entirely transparent.'
    Hughnon reflected that 'entirely transparent' meant either that you could see right through them or that you couldn't see them at all.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 2:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I guess these "skills" he seems to lack are hypnosis, seduction and/or pharmacology.

    Have you read what he writes? You will notice how critical it is of the people he reports on. How would he ever get any access to them?

    Journalism has evolved into the art of sucking up to the right people to get the "exclusive" stories. It is a kind of soft corruption in the "you be good to me, I be good to you"-department. Not sure "skills" are that much more important than the freedom to write without having to face those restrictions.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is a sad day when sourcing claims gets to be called "hiding"...

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    AJ learn to read and stop trying to re write history.

    On many occasions he has put forward his opinions and out right demolished your arguments in the comments section. Just grow up already.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Then Google and don't come to this garbage dump of a site you hate so much. If you had a shred of intelligence you'd have realized that.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Jerrymiah, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Obama the lying bitch

    How can Obama tell the truth about all this spying? I don't think he can. For that, he would have to ask authorization from his bosses in the military complex and I don't believe they will let him do it. This administration is morally bankrupt. And since the Republican Party is totally disorganised and has no chance of winning the next election, why change things. The US is definitively in need of a third political party to stir thing up in Washington. But I don't believe in this happening. American do not seem to believe in this solution and will never elect a third political force.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We've seen your English. You couldn't debate your way out of a wet paper bag with a hole cut in it.

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Well, there's that, but then ....

    We have to remember, Obama is part black (I think I am also, and it affects how - I think - honkies see me. Just putting the shoe on the other foot, colorless folk. Do the obvious, don't get mad, get even, like the House does).
    So, ALL the politicians from the Bible Belt, as well as several other States, are going to attack him however they can, and I think he is "gun-shy".

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    David, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Re: Well, there's that, but then ....

    It doesn't matter whether he is black, pink, or yellow. He is a lying, equivocating disgrace.

    He's just as bad as Nixon regarding his character. Unfortunately, he has vastly more power than Nixon had, and government and judicial branch are far more mottled with systematic endemic corruption than Nixon's were.

    Nixon resigned before he could get impeached because breaking numerous laws.

    Obama would not get impeached, the laws are in such a sorry state that he did not have to break all that many, and the Department of Justice is corrupted to the core (with its head Eric Holder running illegal arms deals and lying about it to congress under oath, and just getting a slap on the wrist for that) and more interested in blackmailing small guys ("plea deals") than going after the big ones.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    At least he has not lied about getting a blow job. You get impeached for doing that

     

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

  32.  
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    lars626 (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    Digging

    Rule #6
    When you are at the bottom of the hole, STOP DIGGING.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Obummer

    Actually, I would say that is a very good point. Take the Clinton administration, which in most respects was very good, but his financial reforms and lessening of regulations on the banking industry may have very well led to the banking crisis in 2008. Could he have foreseen the corruption ahead of time, well, it's debatable to some extent since it was so long after his office. I truly believe we can only see the effects of long term policy changes probably a decade or two after they leave office.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 3:25am

    Re: Re: Obummer

    NOI was sucked in by the lies that were told during the Obama presidential fight, well i was more so the first time than the second time.

    He very clearly lied about many things i am not even going to try to go into them here, secrecy is one thing he has created more of and not less which is what he stated very clearly he would not do.

    But this is something Obama inherited and something he is being very foolish about.

    Saying all of that Obama has an opposition that very nearly took the country into a second great depression than what Bush created. Remembering that the Republicans stated very clearly that they would not allow him to do anything that mattered from the day he was elected the first time, and that they decided that was more important than the country and the people that live in it.

    With this threat hanging over his head i am not surprised he dug in and has not been transparent, but he should have gone the other way...although saying that how much would it have destroyed his ability to actually monitor the organizations that wanted or want to harm the country.

    I dont put all the responsibility of this on the republicans heads i believe Obama is clever enough that he could have released all the details now and this could have been fixed and not become his legacy.


    Sadly he is going the wrong way for some reason and becoming less transparent , not that he has been very transparent to start with, and he is making a very big mistake that i am sure somewhere along the line in the next few years the republicans will use to damage him more than they have already.

     

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  35.  
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    fook americans, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it

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    This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it

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  36.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Obummer

    Clinton was one of the most effective Republican presidents ever.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    "but it's just digging an ever deeper hole that the ***NEXT*** administration is going to have to try to climb out of "

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Yes Obama You Are a Crook, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    True

    This has to be the most corrupt president ever. He is 100% Chicago-style crooked politics but he integrates that approach with the privatized surveillance apparatus.

     

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

  39.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Re: True

    Obama is behaving badly, certainly, but let's keep it in context. He is not the most corrupt President ever. He's not even the most corrupt President in the 20th and 21st centuries.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    and you're surprised by any of this?

    increased secrecy might not be comforting to the world, but the red button of nuclear holocaust must never see the light of day, and so you must hide it from everyone, including the good and the bad

     

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


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