As these revelations dominate the headlines, perhaps they do obscure other important Obama scandals like Benghazi, IRS / Tea Party, DOJ spying on AP, Pigford, the many EPA scandals, and more. But I say, look at the bright side. There are plenty of revelations to come in those other scandals, so it’s probably temporary.
And, although it’s bad that the Obama administration is so scandalous: given that it is, it’s good that so many of them are coming to light. If some voter doesn’t care about scandal X, they may well care about scandal Y. Even a good chunk of Obama’s left-wing base who may approve of his IRS abusing the Tea Party, is disturbed that he has gone from criticizing to defending the NSA’s activities in spying on ordinary Americans.
So, meet Edward Snowden, now receiving media attention as the NSA whistleblower. I found the whole article interesting. One minor detail which caught my eye is that Snowden sounds like a disillusioned Obama supporter:
…the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms [of CIA and NSA activities], rendering disclosures unnecessary. [Snowden] left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility…It was then, he said, that he “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in”, and as a result, “I got hardened.”…”you can’t wait around for someone else to act…”
By the way, it looks like Obama means to prosecute the recent leaks. If he does, let’s remember that he will be carrying out the law.
Having said that: The difference between Candidate Obama and President Obama on these issues is astounding, even to a seasoned cynic. Here’s Obama from 2007:
[The Bush] administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest…
Now click here for some video of Obama hemming and hawing about how we should all trust the Congressional and judicial oversight of these massive surveillance programs.
I want to note that in the past, a point I’ve made in defending some Bush anti-terror programs (the ones I knew about) was that they had Congressional and judicial oversight. But the programs we’re talking about now are a leap I never envisioned. I supported programs that not only had oversight, but that were limited in nature, and reasonable in being tied directly to known terrorists / terrorist activity.
These newer programs appear to be practically unlimited. The sphere of freedom from government surveillance in America is getting awfully small. Maybe they still can’t legally open the letter or hear the phone call; but given that they can read your e-mails, and gather so much other information about your phone calls and other movements, “What difference does it make?”, to coin a phrase.
Sane people know there is no hypocrisy, none whatever, in (as a simple example) supporting ice cream as a product or industry while also questioning people who abuse ice cream by eating gallons of it. I support counter-terrorism – until it is abused.
(NB: Since publication, I’ve removed a crack from Jay Leno that could be misleading, added a new closing sentence, and done additional small edits.)