Maybe I didn't pay enough attention in history class, but my memory of Paul Revere was that he, and the Sons of Liberty, were pretty active in warning Americans about the unsettling activities of the government officials of their day. Pretty Edward Snowden-ish, really. So President Obama's invocation of the names of people who were, in Revere's case, arrested for their actions (just like his administration wants to do to the modern thorn in the government's side) as a precursor to the National Security Agency and its snooping on the American people seems a bit…off.
Said President Obama in his seemingly endless speech at the Justice Department:
At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the "The Sons of Liberty" was established in Boston. The group's members included Paul Revere, and at night they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America's early Patriots.
Throughout American history, intelligence has helped secure our country and our freedoms.
Yeah…I don't know that Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock, and company were really NSA sort of people.
To his credit, Obama conceded that "even the United States proved not to be immune to the abuse of surveillance." But on this, the 53rd anniversary of President Eisenhower's speech warning about the threat posed by a growing military-industrial complex, and cautioning that "only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry" can ensure "that security and liberty may prosper together," the current president sounded positively pissy about the fallout from Snowden's revelations about mass surveillance and the "readiness of some to assume the worst motives by our government."
Perhaps we assume the worst because we found out that the government was looking over all of our shoulders only from a guy who had to blow the whistle and then flee half-way around the world?
I'm pretty sure that the British government was annoyed by Paul Revere and the hornet's nest he helped stir up and wished it would all just go away, just as President Obama is flustered by the objections of so many Americans to the secretive surveillance state. Overall, he has a lot more in comon with General Gage than with the guy who worked out a system for warning people already concerned about government excess that the forces of the state were on the march.