Three facets of Obama’s NSA snooping scandal

There are really three separate issues that are intertwined in the NSA snooping scandal that’s unfolding as you read this.

The first is the honest public debate we need to have about what we expect the federal government to be doing in order to protect us from terrorist threats. It’s easy to claim that anything is an “intrusion” but there are probably legitimate reasons to collect “metadata” and use automated screening of communications to help sniff out threats. The question is are these tactics being used legally. For example, we learned that the Verizon metadata was collected using a warrant from the FISA Court. The “F” in FISA is for “foreign” so on the surface it seems that collecting domestic phone records is outside the jurisdiction of this special court.

The second issue is about the people that handle such data and their supposedly neutral political role. We used to take for granted that government bureaucrats were neutral. that they simply carried out their duties in a non-partisan manner. But we’ve seen in the Benghazi cover up and the IRS treatment of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status that parts of the government have been politicized to unprecedented levels. That makes the discussion of the first item above much more difficult because frankly we can’t trust the government to do the right thing anymore.

And the last issue is about the hypocrisy of President Obama who campaigned vigorously against his opponent, John McCain, in 2008 claiming that he’d be an extension of Bush administration, whose policieshe claimed violated civil liberties. Yet almost every single policy Obama ran against on these grounds have been continued and/or expanded. Simply put this president is liar. He projects a certain policy position but actually espouses another and he’s been doing it secretly. Like the New York Times said in their original editorial yesterday, he’s lost all credibility. He simply can’t be believed. We must disbelieve every word that comes out of his mouth.

2 thoughts on “Three facets of Obama’s NSA snooping scandal”

  1. “We must disbelieve every word that comes out of his mouth.”

    This is appropriate:

    In January 1980, a seemingly off the cuff remark by Mary McCarthy regarding Lillian Hellman sparked off a literary feud and a debate about truth, particularly in memoirs, that has raged on till this day.

    McCarthy was a guest on the Dick Cavett show on PBS. The interview was begging to flag when Cavett asked McCarthy what writers she thought were overrated. Among the writers that she mentioned were Pearl S. Buck, John Steinbeck and Hellman who McCarthy said, “who I think is tremendously overrated, a bad writer, a dishonest writer, but she really belongs to the past.” Cavett, of course, asked McCarthy what was overrated about Hellman. McCarthy replied that “Everything. I once said in an interview that every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’

    May we all be Mary McCarthys…

  2. It’s funny, George, I just quoted this McCarthy line to someone this morning about Obama.

    And Henry, all correct. No one would have reason to believe that most other presidents should not have the right to collect this data understanding that the courts must weigh in if more delving is to take place.

    But there are two comments I would make on this:

    The first of course is that because it is Obama, all bets are off, as you explain.

    And the second is that my liberal friends, who were hysterical when Bush wanted to use these things, in a small way to find out about terrorists always using courts before they leapt, have no fear of this president.

    Life’s little ironies.

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