NSA

President Obama Claims He Was Totally Moving Forward on Reviewing Surveillance Operations Before Edward Snowden's Leaks That Let Us All Know About Them

Debate made too "rapid" and "passionate" because of the leaks, president claims

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White House

At today's excruciatingly bullshit-laden press conference, President Obama said he extended protections to whistleblowers before Edward Snowden leaked the NSA's surveillance operations to the press, so Snowden should've used the appropriate channels to lodge a complaint. Later he clarified that he didn't think Snowden was a whistleblower or a patriot. In fact, Obama blamed Snowden for a debate on privacy and security that was more "rapid" and "passionate" than he would've preferred. Obama claims he mentioned his own reservations about surveillance and the need to "balance" privacy and security in his May speech at the National Defense University. Here is the relevant portion:

Thwarting homegrown plots presents particular challenges in part because of our proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home.  That's why, in the years to come, we will have to keep working hard to strike the appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are.  That means reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication, but also build in privacy protections to prevent abuse.

That means that—even after Boston—we do not deport someone or throw somebody in prison in the absence of evidence.  That means putting careful constraints on the tools the government uses to protect sensitive information, such as the state secrets doctrine.  And that means finally having a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to review those issues where our counterterrorism efforts and our values may come into tension.

I bolded the relevant comment so you wouldn't miss it. This speech was made more than four years after Obama first took office. As to the meat of this afternoon's proposals, the president relayed that he was most interested in getting Americans to trust that the programs are not violating people's privacies, because that's against the law.

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  1. There has been an ISPAB (Information Systems Security & Privacy Advisory Board) for decades. It used to be called the CSSPAB. Their charter didn’t encompass classified Federal systems, but that’s a comparatively modest fix. Clearing the people on that board would be a good start.

  2. “At today’s excruciatingly bullshit-laden press conference….”

    So then, it was exactly the same as every other press conference Obama has ever held.

    1. I don’t think they’re usually quite this long

    2. Still more accurate and palatable than the housing speech last week.

  3. “At today’s excruciatingly bullshit-laden press conference, President Obama said…”

    C’mon Ed, tell us what you really think!

    Bravo Sir.

  4. the president relayed that he was most interested in getting Americans to trust that the programs are not violating people’s privacies, but much less interested in ensuring that the programs are not violating people’s privacies.

    1. That falls into the sad, but true bin. He is all about appearances.

  5. I know you progtards (T o n y , shreeky, etc) are perfectly comfortable with this level of mendacity!

    I’m sorry, I’m just not!

    Could you lefty dimwits at least field a president who can work up some quality fibs?!

    Brother is just mailing it in these days! Sad.

  6. “…he was most interested in getting Americans to trust that the programs are not violating people’s privacies…”

    So, epic fail there, huh?

  7. Holy shit. If only the media would pillory this guy as he so richly deserves.

    1. If he were playing for the other team, they would have done so long before now.

    2. To their credit, I suppose, ABC News summarized Obama’s comments as indicating that the President was not really planning to make any changes in the intelligence operations, but was taking steps to improve their PR and convince more Americans to accept and approve of them. These broadcast journalists looked like deer in the headlights as the were saying that, by the way. When even the Disney network can’t put a Pollyanna smile on the President’s performance, the jig is up. Let’s all remember to toss the Presidential enablers of both parties out on their collective asses in 2014, and vote only for independent and third-party candidates who seem to have a solid knowledge of the Constitution and a proven ability to preserve, protect, and defend it.

  8. Obama blamed Snowden for a debate on privacy and security that was more “rapid” and “passionate” than he would’ve preferred.

    What. The. Fuck?

    1. Damnit squirrels!

    2. Look, you’re supposed to be engaged in the process of democracy. Just don’t get yourself all worked up. Join the dialogue, but you should probably keep your opinions to yourself.

      Is that so hard to do?

  9. In fact, Obama blamed Snowden for a debate on privacy and security that was more “rapid” and “passionate” than he would’ve preferred.

    He’s a traitor because he made life uncomfortable for the Dear Leader.

  10. I know the media and most of the left laps this stuff up, but I’m curious if Obama actually believes what he says, or if he goes in knowing it’s absolute bullshit.

  11. “President Obama Claims He Was Totally Moving Forward on Reviewing Surveillance Operations Before Edward Snowden’s Leaks That Let Us All Know About Them”

    If this is so, them Snowden should have simply said ‘spoiler alert!’, and Obama should welcome him home.
    I’d suggest Snowden’s attorneys throw this back in Obama’s face.

  12. So, Obama once again attempts to “steal our noses”, followed by an hour of cooing and jingling his keys over our heads, and is vexed and bewildered that the public isn’t lapping up this horseshit, and begging for more like his advisors assured him we would… Hmmm. He must be disappointed in us, we have failed him. If only most of weren’t too fucking stupid to understand that he, and his flunkies are kicking us in the balls and chuckling about it for our own good… because he loves us.

  13. That ranks right up there with “I was just testing you.”

  14. According to AP
    …”he blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.”…
    Trampling on A-4 has nothing to do with it!
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/pol…..720934.php

  15. “a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to review those issues ”

    OUR RIGHTS AREN’T DERIVED FROM GOVERNMENT BOARDS!

    1. ^This^

      In other words, another level of cronyism and bureaucracy, to act as a “focus group”, and research exactly how much shit the public will swallow before they start pissing and moaning about their constitutionally protected civil rights bill of government granted bill of arbitrary privileges.

  16. This press conference was so staggeringly awful and milquetoast, I almost couldn’t believe it. Until I could. I think this paragraph was telling. There is nothing more disingenuous than using words like “many” and comparing our privacy laws to “our most vocal critics.” How many? Which ones? What guidelines? How narrow is narrow, exactly? Pathetic.

    It’s true we have significant capabilities. What’s also true is we show a restraint that many governments around the world don’t even think to do, refuse to show. That includes, by the way, some of America’s most vocal critics. We shouldn’t forget the difference between the ability of our government to collect information online, under strict guidelines and for narrow purposes, and the willingness of some other governments to throw their own citizens in prison for what they say online.

    1. Translation:

      Obama is sad that he can’t have camps like the other dear leaders.

      1. Team Blue believes deeply in public (re)education.

    2. That was a blatant and outright threat. Most people, I imagine, didn’t catch it, but it is.

      He basically looked us dead in the eye and said “Shut up about this or we WILL start throwing you in prison like the other governments.”

  17. President Obama said he extended protections to whistleblowers before Edward Snowden leaked the NSA’s surveillance operations to the press,

    …but now he takes it all back so Snowden can freeze in Russia.

  18. . Later he clarified that he didn’t think Snowden was a whistleblower or a patriot. In fact, Obama blamed Snowden for a debate on privacy and security that was more “rapid” and “passionate” than he would’ve preferred.

    I thought Obama liked rapid and passionate, where people got in each others faces.

  19. “As to the meat of this afternoon’s proposals, the president relayed that he was most interested in getting Americans to trust that the programs are not violating people’s privacies, because that’s against the law.”

    This redefinition of “privacy” would go well with the Bush Administration’s redefinition of “torture”–file them both under “horse shit”.

    Oh, and any “reform” of the NSA’s Fourth Amendment violating operations wouldn’t be a reform at all–because their operations were never authorized by law in the first place. How do you “reform” a law that has never existed?

    Any “reform” would just amount to giving the NSA a fig leaf to hide behind–until the Supreme Court finally reviews their practices, or the American people finally get sick of this and stand up for their rights.

    I hope Congress never, ever votes for any “reform” of these policies proposed by the this president. He just wants to make the violations of our rights he probably authorized legal retroactively.

    If presidents are good or bad based on how well they defended our Constitutional rights, then Barack Obama is one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had.

  20. How can you tell when a politician is lying? When his lips are moving.

    Go Barry, enjoy your vacation, at least you won’t be making things worse!

  21. Anyone else sick and tired of being treated like a stupid child?

    1. Why is there something we can do about it?

  22. 48 words about the need for unspecified protections in over 6,000 words (not counting “Good afternoon, everybody. Please be seated. “) about terrorism. So less than 1% of a speech is supposed to show that he’s really concerned by the “tension” between fake protection and fake concern over privacy? It’s not the depth of the lies, it’s how stupid they must think we are to believe them.

  23. Makes you wonder how many people still believe what he says. Does he even know the difference between truth and lies?

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