Obama To Speak On NSA Reforms on January 17


NSA Demonstration

The Washington Post is reporting that President Obama will make a speech next Friday detailing how he plans to reform the National Security Agency. It will be interesting to see if the president has been co-opted by the minions of the national security state or if he can remember that civil libertarians were once part of the coalition that put him into office. From the Post:

Obama and his aides have been focused behind-the-scenes this week on finishing its review of the spy programs and preparing for the president's address to the nation. Privacy and civil liberty activists, along with top tech company executives, are calling on the president to adopt sweeping reforms to curb the NSA's collection of phone call metadata and other personal information of online users.

But U.S. defense and intelligence agencies have argued fiercely that such information is necessary to keep the public safe, even though a White House advisory board found in a December report no evidence that such data prevented a terrorist attack.

Stay tuned.

See my post from earlier today on the new radical reform recommendations made by former NSA insiders.


NEXT: Matthew Feeney Discusses Current Events on The Blaze's "Real News" Tonight at 6pm ET

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  1. “I’m sorry you refuse to understand how wonderful I am.”

  2. Thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure not to listen.

  3. I disagree with several of the organizations sponsoring thedaywefightback.org because they seem perfectly willing to let these sorts of abuses go unchecked as long as they don’t happen on their precious internets. However, I am willing to make common cause with them for now. They’ve picked 2/11/14 as the day.

    1. The joy that could be had with a raspberry pi sitting on top of a mailserver, running a transparent SMTP proxy that happened to POST the full text of emails to pastebin…

      Wouldn’t be that hard of a script to write, hard part would be having it get an IP it could connect out with (or maybe a cell modem), and just pass other traffic (or TLS) directly through to the mail server.

  4. “It will be interesting to see if the president has been co-opted by the minions of the national security state or if he can remember that civil libertarians were once part of the coalition that put him into office.”

    It would also be interesting to see if George Foreman, if presented with a choice between a triple cheeseburger all the way, and plain unseasoned rice cakes, would choose the cakes.

    Sure it would.

    1. The rice cakes would be terrible for him. I recommend the triple cheeseburger, throw away the bun.

  5. Skeptical hippo is skeptical.


  6. civil libertarians were once part of the coalition that put him into office.

    Only the retarded ones, Ron, only the retarded ones.

    1. I will agree that they were extremely confused.

    2. I’ll give some who voted for him in 2008 a pass. Only retarded civil libertarians could have voted for him in 2012 though.

      1. If someone calls themselves a civil libertarian and voted for Obama in 2012, they are either a liar, a moron, don’t know what “civil liberties” are, or a chihuahua.

        1. Or all of the above.

          1. I never thought a chihuahua would vote for Obama until my wife pointed out to me that Taco Bell showed us Juan Peron was actually a chihuahua.

        2. “Not vote for Obama!? That’s no different from saying you want Mitt Romney to outlaw birth control and put gay people in interment camps!”

        3. Don’t be mean to chihuahuas. At least they believe in being left the hell alone.

          1. Wrong. I heard the Taco Bell chihuahua is a canine supremacist and total fascist. Zeig Woof! Zeig Woof!

            1. Read your history, man! Gidget died long before the 2012 election.

              1. You sad, pathetic, blithering nincompoop. Her brain was merely transferred to the body of a shark for a while for safekeeping, and was then transferred to Mel Gibson’s body (why do you think he had his “outbursts” at that particular time, huh?), until it was able to be transferred to Spuds MacKenzie. What a long strange trip it’s been.

                Also, Spuds is a Nazi now in case you didn’t follow the story.

                1. Are you saying the sharks got smarter?!

                  1. What part of you being a nincompoop didn’t you understand? The blithering part?

                    Sharks getting smarter. How asinine. That’s like saying ProL getting smarter.

                    1. It could happen. I saw that documentary, Deep Blue Sea.

                    2. Are you calling Saffron Burrows a chihuahua?!? You fucker!

                    3. If that makes her a civil libertarian, then, I, um, don’t have any idea. But she might be one!

            2. Run for the border.

              Then ANNEX IT.

            3. Chihuahuas don’t ‘woof’. They ‘yip’.

          2. Little know fact: chihuahuas are the most collectivist of dog breeds.

            1. They are extremely tribal.

            2. Well, maybe after Newfies. They’re like one big drooling hive mind.

            3. A chihuahua is not a dog.

              It is a short-haired house rat, useful only as hawk-bait.

  7. “I will personally ensure that the NSA only uses its powers for good, never for evil. I promise. Now I’d like to use the rest of my speech to address income inequality.”

  8. He will do nothing more than hand waving and the media will be ecstatic

  9. “My fellow Americans, I will reform the NSA. They were totally retarded to let it slip what they were doing, and I will not let that kind of sloppy security be representative of our National ‘Security’ Agency. Let me be clear: those who let Edward Snowden get his hands on data will be fired and will never work in anything except fast food again. Only in this way can you be assured that your National Surveillance Agenc…uh, I mean Security Agency, is run be people competent enough to hide the fact that they are secretly spying on you, ‘secretly’ being the operative word. I will not tolerate any more incompetence of this nature at our nation’s panopticon! Thank you, you’ve been a great audience, and please don’t forget to tip your unionized service workers. Good night.”

    1. “It was wrong and insensitive of me to let you see the sausage, as it were, um, being made. This mistake will not be repeated. America’s secrets will now be kept secret from you, my fellow Americans, so that you can remain in ignorant bliss.”

      1. “We apologize again for the fault in the security. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.”

        1. “Let me be clear: There is no end to the number of people who I will secretly punish through secret executive orders. If a neighbor disappears, you’ll know that my justice has been applied.”

          1. “With great power comes great irresponsibility.”

            1. “This hurts you more than it hurts me.”

      2. “We will reform the NSA, but we won’t tell you how.

        “Trust us.”

        The real crying shame is that the MSM, all of Team Blue and most of Team Red will buy that.

        1. [Standing ovation.]

          What’s bad is that the opposition party, too, really doesn’t want true reform here.

          1. What opposition party?

                1. We got a new member?
                  When did we got a new member?
                  Why didn’t anybody tell me we got a new member?

                  I’ve been outsided. Again. Sniffle.

  10. Recall that barrel of water the NYT was carrying just last week for Hillary and the Obama Administration claiming they could not find Al-Qaeda links to the Benghazi attacks? Where they even renewed the lie about the YouTube video?


    The State Department released its official designation of three new terrorist groups and their leaders today, and all three have a record of attacking U.S. diplomatic facilities: Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, which attacked Tunis’s U.S. embassy and the city’s American school on September 14, 2012, and Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and Ansar al-Sharia in Derna, both of which were involved in the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi. The release identifies the leader of the last of the three, Sufian bin Qumu, who trained with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, fought the U.S. during the liberation of that country, and spent several years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in Pakistan.

    Can’t wait to dance on your grave, NYT.





    2. For the record = “Al Qaeda ties or not” is simply a headfake attempt to change the terms of contention around WTF happened @ Benghazi.

      Its bullshit. It has nothing to do with whether or not the attacks were a premeditated assassination attempt by (insert anyone); whether said attacks were in retaliation for CIA activities in the region; whether the attack was connected to Stevens/CIA potential roles in arms transfers; whether there were direct orders made preventing support elements from intervening during the attack; whether the people conducting the attack had direct connections to Stevens/CIA in other contexts…. etc.

      Its just another attempt to try and cast the story as “republicans want you to believe X… BUT Y!?!”

      Which is bullshit.

      1. I understand the motivation of an official covering her own ass, but the motivation of a reporter covering the ass of that official, that is truly lowly, decadent, and speaks ill of the human race.

  11. A speech. On Friday. Even by Obama standards, this is weak.

    1. I have a dream that one day this nation will lie down and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We will not let the terrorists win.”

      I have a dream that one day in the tony streets of Chevy Chase, the snoopers and the targets will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood without the latter knowing about the former.

      I have a dream that one day even the state of whistleblowing, a state sweltering with the heat of unsecured data access, sweltering with the heat of policy leakage, will be transformed into an oasis of STFD and STFU.

      I have a dream that my two little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their metadata.

    2. In the middle of the fucking Olympics too. Cocksucker!

      1. The only way the Olympics will matter is if the US hockey team pulls another upset. Winter Olympics, boring. But then, I tend to hate the Summer version too.

      2. Er, the Olympics are in February.

    3. The Friday before a holiday weekend. Well, a holiday weekend if you work for FedGov.

  12. “Let me be clear and make no mistake. We screwed up. We should never have hired Edward Snowden. In the future we will be more vigilant when doing background checks on contractors. That is all.”

  13. OT and nearly two years old but recently read this transcript of NPR’s This American Life on how Trenton, Colorado Springs, and some other places cut city govt services instead of raise taxes. The narrator’s agenda does not fit with the cities’ experiences. And the story behind the Colorado Springs manifesto is fascinating.


    1. I listened to that podcast when it first came out. Like most of their colleagues, the producers didn’t seem to understand that the public services they support come at the cost of private expenditures and competing services. At some basic level, people like that don’t understand the notion of market efficiency or trade-offs–it’s just taken for granted that the only way to get something done is through taxation and state power. They also seem to think that they understand something that we don’t, which is what leads them to say incredibly condescending things like “So when his street light went dark, he didn’t put two and two together.”

      I like to wonder what the world would be like were Bastiat as famous as Marx.

  14. *with thumb planted firmly on the scale*

    “There is a delicate balance between security and privacy…”

    1. One must balance the needs of the many against the needs of the One.

  15. Obama has made it abundantly clear that the American public is the enemy. Any reforms to the NSA he proposes will only have the effect of making them more invasive.

  16. Here come the three o’clock squirrelz!!!!

  17. Obama’s Reality-Bending-By-Speech powers will be sorely tested.

    I think in a few of his last ones (particularly re: Obamacare), there was a distinct flavor of panic where it seemed that even HE didn’t quite buy his own bullshit.

  18. “My enemies are your enemies, and my biggest enemies are you. So we’ll refocus and recalibrate NSA spying on my biggest enemies.”

    1. So we’re our own worst enemies? Is this like how you’re your own grandpa?

      1. He did do the nasty in the pasty.

        1. Well, now everything is back as it was, and if history doesn’t care that our degenerate friend ProL is his own grandfather, then who are we to judge?

      2. We’re our own worst enemies, yes. I mean, that’s why Obama is in office and the NSA is shitting on us from space, right?

        1. shitting on us from space

          No there is a metaphor that needs to be used more. Or do you actually get hit by shit from space in Florida? I suppose that wouldn’t be too surprising.

          1. Only metaphorically, though Florida does throw shit into space.

      3. “We are the enemies we’ve been waiting for.”

    1. So far, all dross, no gold.

  19. Stay tuned.

    NSA will.

  20. I think he will create a privacy czar.

    1. I’d send in my application, but I’m holding out for the position of czar czar.

      1. That would be Czar Czar Binks?

        1. “Meesa say if you no trust the federah govamin, you a terraris.”

    2. Yep, if anything Obama’s attitude will be that we just don’t have enough TOP MEN. Why, he’d supervise the NSA himself if he weren’t so busy.

      1. At the very least he’d write code for them.

  21. I expect him to publicly offer Snowden full amnesty.

    It’s not what’s going to happen, it’s what I would expect of a leader committed to defending the Constitution.

    1. That would be a politically astute thing to do, throwing out something about not liking what he did but understanding that these problems needed to be brought to our attention, but Obama’s not ballsy like that. More bullshit, less actual change.

      1. It is going to be pretty amazing indeed, as he proposes reforms to an organization whose practices he knew about for years but only started suggesting reforms when Snowden let people know what it was doing, while at the very same time holding Snowden must be brought to account for that.

        Orwellian, to say the least.

        1. I will be utterly shocked if any real reforms come about due to anything he initiates. Maybe the same bullshit investigation that DOJ has launched for the IRS can also bullshit investigate the NSA.

          1. Well, recall that according to some of the leaked documents and released FISA transcripts the NSA was violating the ‘mitigation’ rules they already had in place, so what good would adding new ones from within the branch do?

            1. Yes, I rather suspect new orders will be issued and maybe a commission of some sort–all within the administration. Typical nothing.

            2. the NSA was criminals are violating the ‘mitigation’ gun control rules they we already had in place, so what good would adding new ones from within the branch do?

              They obviously believe that new rules will be followed by the old rule-breakers.

              1. Pouring old abuses into new bottles.

  22. Ford says oops we thought it was cool to spy


    1. General “Buck” Turgidson: If the pilot’s good, see, I mean if he’s reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low… oh you oughta see it sometime. It’s a sight. A big plane like a ’52… varrrooom! Its jet exhaust… frying chickens in the barnyard!

  23. I’m sure President Narrative will deliver yet another rousing stem-winder.

    Brave prediction of the aftermath: 10% will be angry, 10% will defend BHO, Morgan Freeman will accuse us of racism, and 80% will be shopping for their Superbowl parties.

    1. Here is what I find remarkable about all of this. Usually it seems to me that most politicians care only about doing what is expediently politically popular. Yet curbing the NSA is politically popular! According to this poll majorities of liberals, conservatives and independents feel our civil liberties are being violated too much. Yet few politicians are doing much about it. We have had some letters of protest by Udall and Wyden and a bill by Amash, but that is it.

      1. Yet curbing the NSA is politically popular! According to this poll majorities of liberals, conservatives and independents feel our civil liberties are being violated too much.

        Are those people millionaires who live in Washington, D.C.? No? Then who cares what they think?

      2. Usually it seems to me that most politicians care only about doing what is expediently politically popular.

        Son, I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is not the case.

        Some care about maximizing the graft, some care about the prestige and the power, some have an axe to grind or a religion to promote. On occasion, some of them are impelled by their axes or religion to do something that helps the populace. But that is almost always an accident and like a rain storm ends quickly.

        1. I see your points, but I was not under the illusion they would do what would help the populace, but what would at least keep them in office. If most voters are now against the NSA I would think some pol would recognize how that wind is blowing and run with it.

          1. A miniscule number of voters is going to change the team they vote for over the NSA…. remember this shit has been going on for decades.

            Some politicians will no doubt test the waters to see if this can get them more votes than they will lose… Like penguins watching to see if a sea lion gets the first guys in the water, the other politicians will watch to see what happens.

            My guess is that they will see it doesn’t do shit for them and they won’t jump in the water themselves. They will hunt for herring, er gullible fools, voters in other bays.

          2. They only have to worry about the issues where the two parties actually differ. And economics is too complicated. Which is why we mostly hear about stupid crap like abortion and “war on women” during elections that is forgotten soon after. No politician has to worry about the NSA stuff because what are you going to do, vote for the other party?

        2. I’ll go with prestige as the chief motivating factor. Some people are born hungry for attention and social glorification, and they’re the ones who wind up as politicians or evangelists.

          That type of person will do what’s necessary to to stay in office and keep their political relationships intact, which means that nothing is going to happen with the NSA without NRA-style populist outrage.

      3. Doing what is politically popular (outside of DC, anyway, and not what’s popular in govt circles) is a means to an end. For many politicians, restricting the scope of their power would be sacrificing the end to the means.

  24. Obama To Speak On NSA Reforms on January 17

    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll be sure to wear my wading boots.

  25. Expect some reforms that make vague platitudes towards addressing concerns about privacy, reforms which will of course include more government, possibly a new agency, but the actual functions of the NSA to remain 100% intact with zero changes to the number of security letters, warrantless tapping or spying going on. Classic Obama.

    1. My God, if he actually does offer a proposal that ultimately boils down to creating some “office of transparency and oversight” (I don’t think even Obama would be so tin-eared as to make in cabinet-level) to stuff with bureaucrats, I’ll just cry.

      1. That’s exactly what he’s going to do. At least, that will be the only tangible, observable “reform.”

      2. Through Executive Orders signed this morning I have created the Department of Homeland Transparency with the express goal of making the lives of all Americans more transparent sure the government is accountable to the people who write the big checks and the Military Industrial Complex.

    2. “We’d like to announce the formation of WSAfNSA, or the Watchdog Security Agency for the National Security Agency. These tireless defenders of freedom will be posted at the entrance of every NSA installation to make sure that no one exits with any information about the NSA spying on Americans. They’ll even have people take off their shoes, that’s how serious they’ll be. What’s that, Helen? Yes, they will be unionized.”

      1. Living wage for all! Everything is owned by everyone! Social Security for all!

        1. Really, wouldn’t paying a bounty for every person turned in stimulate our economy? And end unemployment?

          “What do you do? I’m an independent contractor that specializes in finding enemies to America.”

  26. “civil libertarians were once part of the coalition that put him into office”

    The stupid ones.

  27. 1. Please make a Reason drinking game for this like you do for the State of the Union address
    2. Unlike with the State of the Union address, please make it so I wouldn’t die of alcohol poisoning within 5 minutes of the start of the speech.

    1. “Let me be clear”

      *glug glug*

  28. Shouldn’t the headline read:

    “Obama To Read About NSA Reforms in Newspapers on January 18”?

  29. Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it.


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