Trending Topics:

Obama is competitive with ‘Mr. Snowden’

on 34 Comments

On Friday, President Obama held a press conference at which he said that those who have questioned government’s spying on its own citizens in the name of privacy and civil liberties are “patriots” and at which he announced supposedly-sweeping reviews of that surveillance program. Among other measures, he ordered an overhaul of procedures of the secret court that permits the government surveillance and an inquiry into surveillance criteria by an independent panel of experts.

And Obama was careful to state at the start that all this had begun back in May, when he made a speech at the National Defense University.

I.e., before Edward Snowden bolted to Hong Kong and made his releases to the Guardian, in June.

Throughout the press conference, you could sense the competition that Obama feels with the man he repeatedly called “Mr. Snowden” (even as he called Putin Putin). Because “Mr. Snowden” has led the discussion. Mr. Snowden had courage. Mr. Snowden wanted a conversation that the president claims he also wanted.

Obama mentioned Mr. Snowden seven times, granting him prestige, which he of course deserves. I think Obama is jealous.

Here are the references to Snowden during the press conference. Go to the link for full context:

Q. Also will there be any additional punitive measures taken against Russia for granting asylum to Edward Snowden? 

THE PRESIDENT:…. Keep in mind that our decision to not participate in the summit was not simply around Mr. Snowden. It had to do with the fact that, frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress, Russia has not moved. And so we don’t consider that strictly punitive.

Chuck Todd.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Given that you just announced a whole bunch of reforms based on essentially the leaks that Edward Snowden made on all of these surveillance programs, is that change — is your mindset changed about him? Is he now more a whistle-blower than he is a hacker, as you called him at one point, or somebody that shouldn’t be filed charges? And should he be provided more protection? Is he a patriot? You just used those words.

Obama: No, I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot. As I said in my opening remarks, I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks.

My preference — and I think the American people’s preference — would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws, a thoughtful fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place. Because I never made claims that all the surveillance technologies that have developed since the time some of these laws had been put in place somehow didn’t require potentially some additional reforms. That’s exactly what I called for.

So the fact is, is that Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies. If, in fact, he believes that what he did was right, then, like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer and make his case. If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligence community — for the first time. So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions….

And there’s no doubt that Mr. Snowden’s leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response than would have been the case if I had simply appointed this review board to go through, and I had sat down with Congress and we had worked this thing through. It would have been less exciting. It would not have generated as much press. I actually think we would have gotten to the same place, and we would have done so without putting at risk our national security and some very vital ways that we are able to get intelligence that we need to secure the country.

Carol Lee [WSJ]: I wanted to ask you about your evolution on the surveillance issues. I mean, part of what you’re talking about today is restoring the public trust. And the public has seen you evolve from when you were in the U.S. Senate to now. And even as recently as June, you said that the process was such that people should be comfortable with it, and now you’re saying you’re making these reforms and people should be comfortable with those. So why should the public trust you on this issue, and why did you change your position multiple times?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it’s important to say, Carol, first of all, I haven’t evolved in my assessment of the actual programs. I consistently have said that when I came into office I evaluated them. Some of these programs I had been critical of when I was in the Senate. When I looked through specifically what was being done, my determination was that the two programs in particular that had been at issue, 215 and 702, offered valuable intelligence that helps us protect the American people and they’re worth preserving. What we also saw was that some bolts needed to be tightened up on some of the programs, so we initiated some additional oversight, reforms, compliance officers, audits and so forth.

And if you look at the reports — even the disclosures that Mr. Snowden has put forward — all the stories that have been written, what you’re not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and listening in on people’s phone calls or inappropriately reading people’s emails. What you’re hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused. Now, part of the reason they’re not abused is because these checks are in place, and those abuses would be against the law and would be against the orders of the FISC.

Having said that, though, if you are outside of the intelligence community, if you are the ordinary person and you start seeing a bunch of headlines saying, U.S.-Big Brother looking down on you, collecting telephone records, et cetera, well, understandably, people would be concerned. I would be, too, if I wasn’t inside the government.

And so in light of the changed environment where a whole set of questions have been raised, some in the most sensationalized manner possible, where these leaks are released drip by drip, one a week, to kind of maximize attention and see if they can catch us at some imprecision on something — in light of that, it makes sense for us to go ahead, lay out what exactly we’re doing, have a discussion with Congress, have a discussion with industry — which is also impacted by this — have a discussion with civil libertarians, and see can we do this better.

I think the main thing I want to emphasize is I don’t have an interest and the people at the NSA don’t have an interest in doing anything other than making sure that where we can prevent a terrorist attack, where we can get information ahead of time, that we’re able to carry out that critical task. We do not have an interest in doing anything other than that. And we’ve tried to set up a system that is as failsafe as so far at least we’ve been able to think of to make sure that these programs are not abused.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

34 Responses

  1. gingershot
    August 11, 2013, 11:42 am

    Snowden has got more class and better leadership qualities than Obama.

    It’s taking all the fun out of being President

  2. Bill in Maryland
    Bill in Maryland
    August 11, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Thank you Phil. Obama has enough insight to recognize his own level of personal courage does not match up to that of Mr. Snowden, who put everything on the line for his beliefs. See for example your earlier post about Obama’s fears: “Obama told friends he reneged on progressive promises out of fear of assassination — former CIA analyst”

  3. Citizen
    August 11, 2013, 12:33 pm

    Yep. Obama was reading off the best talking points well paid writers could give him. Snowden has always had only himself. Obama is an ivy league certified lawyer specializing in the Constitution who was a beneficiary of affirmative action. Snowden is a high school graduate, a working guy, and not only that, a white guy. Snowden should be the one to get a Nobel Peace Prize. That is, if it really mattered since Obama got one for…. just being a half black POTUS and/or candidate–I forgot just when Obama got that prize.

  4. Krauss
    August 11, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Obama got swept up in the 2008 campaign, so much so that he literally started to act like the Black Jesus that conservatives taunted him for (“Oceans stop rising and the planet will heal”).

    Since then the major contribution he has made was Obamacare, imperfect as it is, but still far better than what was in place before.

    But that was 2010. 3 years ago. And since then? Not much.
    Obama’s always had a strong sense of narcissism and competitiveness, like when he declared, apparently without irony, in 2008 that he, a junior senator, knows more about foreign policy than his entire advising team drawn from all walks of life.

    I was stunned when I saw that. There are upsides to this narcissism, like how he has resisted going into Iraq and Syria with guns blazing just because the neocons scream from the Op-Ed pages to do so(as usual with their “liberal” backup who are very similar on these issues).

    He also bends less to AIPAC than most modern presidents but he still bends, of course.

    Ultimately, however, a man who is now entering his final days and is more fixated than ever on the history books saw how one lonely man’s courage transformed the entire debate. And Obama’s willingness to be Bush III on civil liberties is now so cemented that he cannot escape.

    Friday’s conference was Obama’s last-ditch attempt to reframe the conservation and save his legacy, not actually an attempt to change anything in substance. It was a pathetic display, driven by vanity and not by principle.

    As Matt Damon put it recently, Obama broke up with me, I didn’t break up with him. Of course, I never fell in love with him, because I made my research unlike so many on the left. I knew that he had left out crucial details out of his book that smelled from a mile away, like how he fought on behalf of Wall St banks in Chicago in the 90s for their subprime business which was then being pioneered and tested in communities of color to later be launched nation-wide. Or how he dumped the entire Palestinian-American community at a snap of his fundraiser’s fingers.

    Vanity is the central theme of his character, not principle.
    And this will be his legacy.

    Also, Phil, but I managed to get a hilarious connection to your earlier journalistic days. Male butts of all things:

    Maybe that’s why you left your dayjob? :D

  5. Les
    August 11, 2013, 1:19 pm

    No one of those reporters dared to ask about the lies Obama told on Leno’s program. That would make clear the obvious credibility gap Obama has made for himself.

  6. Mndwss
    August 11, 2013, 1:30 pm

    I hope Obama will bring all of his family to the g8 meeting in St. Petersburg…

    Obama could then just stay at the airport until Putin gives him and his family asylum.

    And then Obama could start to talk about the Obama that he used to know. And why everything changed..

    Obama That I Used To Know – Gotye Parody:

  7. seanmcbride
    August 11, 2013, 1:32 pm

    Some part of Obama gets what Snowden is all about — you can see that in him. But he has a public role to play, and masters to answer to. He values his life.

    Without Snowden, we wouldn’t be having this public conversation about advanced surveillance technologies and their threat to fundamental American values.

  8. seanmcbride
    August 11, 2013, 1:47 pm

    article; Alana Horowitz; Lon Snowden: Obama ‘Either Being Misled… Or He Is Intentionally Misleading The American People’; The Huffington Post; August 11, 2013

    Lon Snowden, the father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, offered some harsh words for President Obama on Sunday.

    “I was disappointed in the president’s press conference,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “I believe that’s driven by his clear understanding that the American people are absolutely unhappy with what they’ve learned and that more is going to be forthcoming.”

    “The president made the statement that Edward — that the president had enacted whistle-blower laws that protected contractors like my son Edward, that is absolutely untrue. Either the president is being misled by his advisers or he is intentionally misleading the American people.”

  9. Egbert
    August 11, 2013, 2:44 pm

    Snowden is everything that Obama isn’t.

  10. Citizen
    August 11, 2013, 4:26 pm

    This article lays out really well why Snowden is a patriot, and Obama is scurrying to retain his image as the guy who really wants to be America’s leader–Snowden is the real thing, Obama is not–and he knows it, but tries to save face:

    Affirmative action mentality will help Obama, along with the black Americans, but the Independents, and some donkeys and elephants see Snowden is the real deal. Somebody who cares about the most basic US values, and about all Americans.What a rare and brave guy he is!

    • tokyobk
      August 11, 2013, 7:08 pm

      You have called Obama an affirmative action president before which is frankly pathetic if you know anything about how he ran his campaigns, from edging out the Clintons, the most astute politicians of their generation, to the ground game he built to trounce Romney (with all Romney’s supposed organizational know-how). Obama has many faults but lacks nothing in the capability department. Obama certainly used race to help him win, not like a supplicant receiving gifts from white people but like a master who convinced white people he was fit to lead. That is called skill not charity.

      But, no surprise you feel this way. It must suck regally for you, presumably a “real American,” watching so many pretend American blacks and Jews wield so much power.

      All this without Pat Buchanan’s ability to whine on a national scale. Gotta suck. At least you have a Jewish site to spend all day on bemoaning your Lost Cause.

      • Sumud
        August 11, 2013, 7:54 pm

        But, no surprise you feel this way. It must suck regally for you, presumably a “real American,” watching so many pretend American blacks and Jews wield so much power.

        It would be courteous if you’re going to make wild accusations like that to bring some proof. Calling Obama the affirmative action president does not qualify.

        Deflection aside – obviously Obama is a slick player – you’re OK with the massive security state created by Bush and perpetuated by Obama…!?!

      • Citizen
        August 12, 2013, 6:51 am

        @ tokyobk
        Axlerod is the genius behind Obama’s campaigns. I think, for example, Obama is smarter, slicker, than Bush Jr, who’s own form of affirmative action is by way of what’s called legacy. We don’t have access to Obama’s academic grades and as to precisely how his whole education was financed from grade school on. He was head of law review at law school, a position normally achieved by evidence of superior legal scholarship writings. Obama had none. And there was also the general zeitgeist of affirmative action that was in the air when he ran for POTUS; this helped him; Hillary would have beat any other candidate in primaries; she, also taking full advantage of affirmative action in the air, gender version. I don’t think such observations makes me a defender of any Lost Cause. You yourself acknowledge: “Obama certainly used race to help him win, not like a supplicant receiving gifts from white people but like a master who convinced white people he was fit to lead. That is called skill not charity.”
        It’s also called identity politics.

      • Citizen
        August 12, 2013, 7:04 am

        And, btw, identity politics is not always detrimental and I think Pat Buchanan would agree:

      • American
        August 12, 2013, 1:30 pm

        tokyobk says:
        ”But, no surprise you feel this way. It must suck regally for you, presumably a “real American,” watching so many pretend American blacks and Jews wield so much power.’……>>>

        You know tokyobk……that HUGE chip on your shoulder in so many of your comments really destroys your credibility on subjects. You seem to have a real problem with Amercans in general, whites in general, non Jews and gentiles in general. You are always looking for a way to insult those groups and if you cant find one you’ll make one up like you did with Citizen’s comment.
        It’s no secret that Obama as a black man brought out a lot of black voters that hadnt been active voters before that and that that helped him immensely ….BUT ….if a lot of those non Jewish bigoted whites and gentiles you love to hate hadnt voted for him also that wouldnt have been enough to put him in the WH.

        If I were you I ‘d quit poking the tiger or it’s libal to respond by becoming just as tribal as you are and just as bigoted as you like to portray them.
        FYI…that would really, really suck for you.

      • libra
        August 12, 2013, 4:50 pm

        tokyobk: Obama has many faults but lacks nothing in the capability department. Obama certainly used race to help him win, not like a supplicant receiving gifts from white people but like a master who convinced white people he was fit to lead. That is called skill not charity.

        That said, the award of the Nobel Peace Prize was clearly an act of affirmative action. And Obama’s readiness to accept it without question makes me suspect this was not the first time he received such unearned adulation and it has clouded his judgment.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 12, 2013, 5:53 pm

        Yeah, right. Obama was supposed to tell Stockholm to shove their prize. That seems realistic.

      • lysias
        August 14, 2013, 1:02 pm

        If Obama had quietly let the Norwegian committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize know beforehand that he did not wish to receive the prize, do you really think it would have gone ahead and awarded it to him?

  11. W.Jones
    August 11, 2013, 5:39 pm

    • NSA whistleblower Russ Tice claims that he saw NSA orders to tap the phone of then-Senator Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Senators John McCain and Diane Feinstein, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, Gen. David Petraeus, and a current Supreme Court Justice.

    “Outrageous abuses … have happened, and it’s all being kept hush hush,” Tice told Business Insider.

  12. calm
    August 11, 2013, 8:36 pm

    My view on the NSA circumstance:

    A Song For Edward Snowden:

    Every Call You Make

    When I enter a Wal-Mart store, I can not help but imagine the complete construction being the perfect place for the National Guard to set up camp. Each store is a military depot. The parking lot is large enough to house a thousand troops and equipment to defend and distribute (perhaps ration) “Essential” community goods and services.

    In a sense that is how I visualize America within the next 5 or 7 years.

    I see everything through this prisim.

    I am quite convinced that the futurists within the Upper Class and World Governments visualize everything through the identical prisim as well.

    The “People” ….. The “Universe” have asked the Upper Class around the globe, “Are You Following Me?”

    The reply given is “It’s Legal” and “It’s Constitutional”.

    But, the “People” ….. The “Universe”, never asked if it was “Legal” or not ….. they asked (as a group) “Are You Following Me?”

    Legal and constitutional means that the Upper Class is telling us that they (as a group) are prepared to use all the tools and force of the State to keep the NSA surveillance collection in place.


    • Citizen
      August 12, 2013, 7:16 am

      Yes, and the Upper Class really believes, “We’re only doing what’s best for you–trust us!” Or, at least some of that class believe so in their hearts, like well-intentioned parents…

      The real issue is, what’s in place to judge the judges, to curb abuses of power? From what I see, not much.

  13. jewishgoyim
    August 11, 2013, 8:43 pm

    I’m always a little concerned by stories like that of Snowden that we’re supposed to take for granted and that nobody ever questions. I have two questions about the basic narrative although I don’t pretend to have researched the story:

    – Snowden said that in Hong Kong, the CIA had an antenna “round the corner” from his hotel. So as soon as the scandal was leaked and that Greenwald was in Hong Kong, it was pretty safe to assume that the CIA knew where he was. They must have done damage assessment and who could doubt for one second that if they thought Snowden were an imminent threat, he would have been taken care of in a matter of hours “Jason Bourne” style (or at least his 4 computers filled with data taken back). All that long before Snowden was known to the public. Especially when someone pays close attention to what happened to Michael Hastings.
    – the Guardian editors told Charlie Rose, when asked whether what had been published had threatened “national security” at the end of June that every document leaked had been shown previously to the White House (and the NSA for good measure). I had never heard Greenwald bragging about this fact. At the same time, there was an article about Greenwald “electrifying” the “Socialism 2013” via skype on Mondoweiss. I watched the one hour youtube filled with admiration for Greenwald and electrified myself. So seeing his two bosses claiming everything was run by the authorities was somewhat of a letdown. It’s what I was expecting of the Washington Post, not from the Guardian and certainly not from Greenwald. Several days later, Greenwald linked to the charlie rose show (see after minute 4).
    One editor said that the NSA and the White House had no specific objection against any of the leaks. At one point, one editor had to clarify what the other was saying by adding “I think it’s fair to say they would rather we did not publish any of this”.

    So these two aspects of the Snowden case makes me wonder whether we should not envision these cases with more scrutiny and skepticism. Not that I think this is all organized by some segment of the US government. Many more things would make that hard to believe among which the Bolivian President’s plane incident and the Putin summit cancellation do not seem likely to be pieces of a larger storytelling about Snowden. Yet the two Guardian editors adressing the oligarchy through Charlie Rose (reassuring in short that they were members in good standing) seemed to strike quite a different tone from Greenwald adressing “Socialism 2013”.

    • MRW
      August 12, 2013, 2:49 am


      I can’t verify what I’m about to say by watching the clip again because of a plug-in failure, but I watched that show at the time. I remember that the Guardian editors were referring to the 46, or so, slides in the original DOCUMENT about PRISM et cetera, the same ones that the WaPo published. Only four or five were published by the Guardian. More in Brazil.

      They are not–repeat, not–referring to the entire 5,000 document trove that Greenwald has.

    • Qualtrough
      August 12, 2013, 2:52 am

      Despite the recent surveillance disclosures, I think you attribute a level of competence to the NSA/CIA far in excess to that which is deserved.

    • Citizen
      August 12, 2013, 7:25 am

      @ jewishgoyim
      Add to what you say that both Manning and Snowden were selective about what data they released for public exposure. They didn’t just arrange to do complete dumps of all the classified data they had. Maybe everyone along the line was trying to do the right thing according to the light they had at the times and places at issue?

    • piotr
      August 12, 2013, 12:16 pm

      I disagree with jewishgoyim.

      The capacity of “taking care of someone Jason Bourne style” does not have to exist. For starters, I suspect that the agents of Chinese intelligence were watching too, and they could even have a good idea who American agents in Hong Kong were. Hong Kong has its own police and I am sure that they made it a priority not to have an assassination on their watch. If Snowden was not walking around the city, he was in a hotel under surveillance and with armed agents nearby. Stuff like rappelling outside the building or masking an assassin as a hotel maid makes good but not realistic movie scene.

      Concerning NSA allowing Guardian to publish, you have to be alerted to the arcane nuances of legalese. The representative of Guardian asked if there are “any SPECIFIC security concerns”. I suspect that whoever was replying on NSA side claimed that there are profound security concerns but the specifics are classified. Then Guardian could conclude that they do not violate SPECIFIC concerns. Guardian was “lawyered up” and eager to publish. After doing that little dance they had their asses covered and the Administration could sue them, but not easily, and probably to a great political cost. For better or worse, The Guardian is a card carrying member of Anglo-American elite and doing s…t to Guardian would get very bad press, could sway extra 10-20 members of Congress into more libertarian direction — which could create anti-universal-surveillance majority, and the Administration would be much worse for the wear.

      In the case of Hastings, one can imagine replacing the chip controlling the acceleration to enable such accident by remote control. I experienced faulty acceleration myself when old chip was malfunctioning. Or it was a suicide. But it was in the milieu under total control of American authorities, so more things could be credibly imagined.

      Snowden represents a huge challenge to the Establishment. There is a split between “inner Establishment” that is “fully certified bipartisan mainstream” and more peripherial which is more libertarian on personal freedom, less interventionist and so on. Snowden created the wedge issue between the two that is quite potent. The meta-problem of the inner elite is that a lot of their policies and propaganda simply make no sense. That was successfully handled by domination of think tanks, media and so on, and the fact that the public at large was very apathetic on those issues.

      The very claim that there is some “storytelling about Snowden” requires to point out how it deviates from stories just happening and how that deviation could serve some purpose.

  14. Djinn
    August 11, 2013, 9:15 pm

    “Obama has many faults but lacks nothing in the capability department.”

    Meaning the lurch to the right under his leadership was intentional.

    The rest of your response to Citizen was really beneath you.

    • piotr
      August 12, 2013, 12:24 pm

      The jibe about “affirmative action” smacked rank racism. I also find it repulsive and it does make it difficult to accept the message even if I agree with it. And I agree that Obama is a dangerous phony. He seems to be very intelligent, but what are his aims other than fitting in the center of our Establishment?

      Obama reminds me a (n alleged) remark in a tourist guide from 1930s: “people in country X are very friendly but skillful.”

      • American
        August 12, 2013, 2:17 pm


        Here is what Citizen said:

        “Obama is an ivy league certified lawyer specializing in the Constitution who was a beneficiary of affirmative action”.

        I dont know if Obama was a beneficiary of AA or not but it’s reasonable to think AA “might” have helped him with the Ivy leagues….just as it has helped other blacks and minorites.

        What if he had said Bush Jr. was the ‘beneficiary of his family’s ‘elite’ connections.

        Where’s your outrage at that put down of Bush? Any outrage at that ?

        It is a fact that colleges, Presidents, politicans, etc. have been selecting people ‘on the basis’ of their race or ethnicity or sex for decades for the sake of diversity or inclusion. The consideration in a lot of political appointments now is not ‘who is the best most qualifed person’ but who is the best female “among female candidates” or the best black “among black candidates” and so on. Some of this was and is good to ‘break the ice’—too much of it can be just as bad as reserving most slots in the country for whites.

        So let’s drop this knee jerk racism thing when someone makes a remark about someone’s race helping him suceed in something when we all know it happens for both blacks and whites…just as George’s whiteness and elitness helped him.
        It’s getting way too hypocritcal.

      • Djinn
        August 12, 2013, 8:39 pm

        You may feel it’s “smacks” of racism but then again that’s how Zionists discount pretty much any criticism “it smacks of anti-semitism therefore I’ll discount everything else you say” personally I prefer not to curtail debate that way.

        If I think something IS racist I’ll say so, insinuating it is just cowardly IMO

      • piotr
        August 14, 2013, 9:43 am

        The phrase on affirmative action is a definite racist code, although, as usually with code words, it has legitimate uses. Here it was not germane to the argument at all: “Affirmative action mentality will help Obama,” ??? He will not run for re-election! And what is a “mentality”? And what is it about “affirmative action thinking” among Norwegians?

        I am old enough to remember and experience authentic anti-Semitism, and I am aware how complex the issues of prejudice are. (In USA a potato is gray or yellowish and of “potato shape” but in the homeland of potatoes you see all possible shapes and colors) People should not be hanged/shunned because of a single codeword, and thus I qualified my statement.

        Mind you, anti-Black racism is by no means dead as a political force. Obama, born in Hawaii run against McCain, born in Panama. Nobody doubts that both gentlemen had mothers that were American citizens, hence afforded American citizenship from the moment of their birth. Yet we have this absurd “birtherism”. Obama is also a Communist atheist + Muslim fundamentalist. And Obambo/Obambi (that seems to be popular in Israel which may be a Polish cultural influence ). When you attack Obama, you walk next to a swamp. And by the black hole in the center of our galaxy, I think that he deserves to be attacked.

  15. MRW
    August 12, 2013, 2:38 am

    Read Senator Wyden’s former Chief of Staff. She quit this past Friday.

    Two of many described complaints she has:

    Really, Mr. President? Do you really expect me to believe that you give a damn about open debate and the democratic process? Because it seems to me if your Administration was really committed [to] those things, your Administration wouldn’t have blocked every effort to have an open debate on these issues each time the laws that your Administration claims authorizes these programs came up for reauthorization, which — correct me if I am wrong — is when the democratic process recommends as the ideal time for these debates.


    And, as I explained in an interview with Brian Beutler earlier this summer, that is just a fraction of the ways the Obama Administration and the Intelligence Communities ignored and even thwarted our attempts to consult the public on these surveillance programs before they were reauthorized. In fact, after the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in which Wyden attempted to close the FAA’s Section 702 loophole, which another important Techdirt post this week explains, “gives the NSA ‘authority’ to run searches on Americans without any kind of warrant,” I — as Wyden’s spokesperson — was specifically barred from explaining the Senator’s opposition to the legislation to the reporters. In fact, the exact response I was allowed to give reporters was:

    “We’ve been told by Senator Feinstein’s staff that under the SSCI’s Committee Rule 9.3, members and staff are prohibited from discussing the markup or describing the contents of the bill until the official committee report is released. The fact that they’ve already put out a press release does not lift this prohibition.”

    That’s right, supporters of a full scale reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act put out a press release explaining why this was a good thing, while explicitly barring the Senator who voted against the legislation from explaining his concerns.

    Well worth reading in toto.

  16. gingershot
    August 13, 2013, 10:16 pm

    Get your Glenn Greenwald fix on – here’s brand new Glenn being interviewed by Dr Ron Paul (on Ron Paul’s new TV network, of all things)

    Snowden is discussed at length – starts at min 12:30

  17. lysias
    August 14, 2013, 1:05 pm

    Guess who was put in charge of establishing that independent commission that would review NSA programs? None other than James Clapper.

Leave a Reply