White House Totally Ready to Have That Civil-Liberties Conversation it's Trying to Actively Smother


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As readers around here know, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) has, rather remarkably, succeeded in getting an amendment to defund the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance activities up for a scheduled vote today on the House floor. Once again, the Wacko Birds are making news—and significant potential policy shifts—in Washington, D.C.

But this time around it isn't the GOP's Angry Birds who have disgorged the most ridiculous response to this libertarian-bent challenge, it's the White House. Check out the cynicism and pure disregard for democratic debate on display in this late-afternoon press release:

In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens.  The Administration has taken various proactive steps to advance this debate including the President's meeting with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, his public statements on the disclosed programs, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's release of its own public statements, ODNI General Counsel Bob Litt's speech at Brookings, and ODNI's decision to declassify and disclose publicly that the Administration filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  We look forward to continuing to discuss these critical issues with the American people and the Congress. 

Them dang kids! |||

However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community's counterterrorism tools.  This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.  We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.

To sum up: We are totally ready to have this conversation we have been actively trying to suppress, we are being transparent in our non-transparency, and in the name of openness and deliberation we must smother this attempt at open deliberation. This administration is flat-out contemptuous of everyone not in it.

As Guardian National Security Editor Spencer Ackerman tweeted last night,

I've really never read anything like that White House #NSAfiles statement. And lemme tell you, this has been quite the past 2 months for me.

Oh, and never fear: The Angry Birds are weighing in, too, as illustrated by this Wall Street Journal sneer, entitled "Republicans for Snowden."