NSA

How Al Franken Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Big Brother

|

Here's Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), circa 2006, talking about national security scares and surveillance:

They're trying to justify these warrantless wiretaps by saying "Oh, it's al Qaida!" One guy is saying it's just al Qaida—the Hayden guy, and then on the other hand, you hear from the FBI that they were inundated with referrals on all kinds of stuff with these calls, so much so that they couldn't get to their real work, and that none of the referrals led anywhere.

I think it's a Rove-ian strategy: "We win on national security; we'll scare people, and then we'll just win."

That's from an Alternet interview, which IDs the former Saturday Night Live writer and performer as a "famous funnyman" and a "Purveyor of Truth."

Here's Al Franken now, according to National Journal in a story called, "The NSA Has at Least 1 Liberal Friend Left: Sen. Al Franken":

I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people…

I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us, and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism.

There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know.

It appears that not only is the American public among the "bad guys" who don't need to know that much about the NSA surveillance programs, but so is Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).

Ellison—and let's underscore that he's a member of Congress from Franken's own state of Minnesota— told ABC News This Week program that he had no knowledge of the NSA's Prism program until, like President Obama and the IRS scandal, he read about it in the funny papers:

The fact is, no, I'm not aware of the program that was revealed [this week]…. I had no notice. It's a fiction that everybody in Congress knew.

Back to Franken: Absent his willingness to share specific cases involving Prism that are more convincing than the main one we've heard about so far—and absent his willingness to include even his fellow Gopher State legislator into the cognoscenti, let me suggest that his turnabout on the question of state surveillance is the result of nothing more complicated than partisanship.

Read more on that score in "Why We Get the Police State We Deserve—and What We Can Do to Fix That."

NEXT: Obama Must Have Known of IRS Political Targeting, Says Boehner

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. doesn’t “Al Franken, United States Senator” pretty much say it all?

    1. “The honorable, newly-elected governor of New York, Chevy Chase”?

      1. okay..I laughed.

    2. “Funnyman” Al Franken certainly doesn’t say it all.

  2. I don’t think either of those photos is necessary. (Yeah, I was stupid enough to decide to click to load them.)

    1. I just hope that everyone knows that the first one is photoshopped.

      1. Unfortunately, it becomes even more horrifying to learn that’s actually Brian Doyle-Murray’s body!

  3. let me suggest that his turnabout on the question of state surveillance is the result of nothing more complicated than partisanship

    Mostly. I’m sure becoming one of the cognoscenti played its part as well. Once you’re in the club, you’re in the club.

    1. The Political Class, where everyone gets straight A’s.

  4. I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people. I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us, and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism.

    I deserve good things, I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with.

    1. And, doggoneit,the people of Minnesota like him.

      1. I unfortunately lived in Minnesota for the last 2 years, and I learned Minnesotans are like the third worst drivers and are incredibly gullible

  5. No, no. Steny says it’s totally different.
    This time it’s legal.
    http://thehill.com/homenews/ho…..-programs-

    “The difference between this program and the Bush program [is that] the Bush program was not sanctioned by law; this is pursuant to law,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “I think that’s a very important distinction that some people don’t draw, but they ought to draw.”

    1. shorter Hoyer: it’s different because we’re in charge.

    2. Its hard to draw this distinction because its all secret and so we don’t know what is going on.

      And when we do find out we find that these activities sanctioned by laws are wide dragnets requiring entire phone and internet records for the country for months at a time. Sounds like we need to look at those laws and who is sanctioning what.

    3. The difference between this program and the Bush program [is that] the Bush program was not sanctioned by law; this is pursuant to law

      Except that any law which conflicts with the constitution is invalid. Therefore, this actually isn’t pursuant to law.

      1. Show me the warrants Steny.

    4. Did they repeal the 4th Amendment sometime between now and the Bush Administration?

      If not, STFU about it being “legal”.

    5. Rather difficult distinction to make when we don’t know about the fucking program, you stupid twat.

    6. So, just to go ahead and go there, was the Holocaust legal under German law, such as it was, at the time?

  6. Dear Al:

    You were never very funny, but your farce of a political career has to be the least amusing stunt you’ve pulled to date. Kindly find an elephant’s tusk to ram up your diseased clocoa, and leave the rest of us alone.

    Kind regards,

    The Trouser Household

  7. I thought that I had become inured to the petty and venal machinations of DC and that my well-heeled cynicism would shield me from the craven mendacity of the pols and their drooling sycophants. I was wrong.

    My contempt and disgust for the political class continues to reach new heights on this latest caper. You could use them for a space elevator.

  8. DIAFAF

  9. You know which other celebrities support the surveillance state when the Right People are in charge?

    1. Emil Jannings?

    2. Ronald Reagan?

  10. So I guess he is now one of those Lying Liars who tells Lies?

  11. Fucking Minnesota. Always fucking every fucking thing up. Fuckers.

    1. Hey, what about hot dish?

      You *can’t* fuck up hot dish.

      1. OK. One thing.

  12. Shortly after 9/11, I saw Franken speak at the National Press Club. He explicitly endorsed racial profiling of Arabs at the event. His explanation was that “if 19 Jewish comedians” had flown a plane into the Twin Towers then he would expect to be searched every time he went to an airport.

    So, I guess the point here is that Franken is entirely capable of being a go-along, get-along type. And has been for a while.

    1. If I was frisking comedians, Al Franken would just be waved through.

  13. Back when this freak was on SNL there was a time when I used to pay special attention to his skits just to try to see what I might be missing. I never detected one speck of humor from any angle in anything he did.

    Now here he is trying to put all the other statist porn queens out of work. No doubt he could, with a smile, take on a job that would gag an anaconda.

  14. I suspect the Israel factor.

  15. I’m wondering now how arbitrary the positions of the political parties are and how far they could be taken. If Obama woke up one morning and said, “Let’s amend the Constitution to get all the niggers out of our schools,” do all the Democrats instantly swing to that side? What if he wants to exterminate the Jews? Kill all the puppies? Outlaw Xmas? Put poison in cherry pies? Void all heterosexual marriages? Ban baseball? Unionize poultry? Mandate shit-scented deodorant? Make Beijing the US capital? Make abortions mandatory except for people who want them?

  16. There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know.

    Anything that might conceivably be “appropriate” for Stuart fucking Smalley to know, is automatically appropriate for any and all other free citizens of this country to know as well.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.