Obama Suddenly Realizes Mass Surveillance Threatens Privacy



During his speech on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs today, President Obama trotted out the familiar claim that mass collection of Americans' phone records could have prevented 9/11:

The program grew out of a desire to address a gap identified after 9/11. One of the 9/11 hijackers—Khalid al-Mihdhar—made a phone call from San Diego to a known al Qaeda safe-house in Yemen. NSA saw that call, but could not see that it was coming from an individual already in the United States. The telephone metadata program under Section 215 was designed to map the communications of terrorists, so we can see who they may be in contact with as quickly as possible.

As ProPublica's Justin Elliott pointed out last June, "U.S. intelligence agencies knew the identity of the hijacker in question, Saudi national Khalid al Mihdhar, long before 9/11 and had the ability [to] find him, but they failed to do so." Furthermore, it is not clear why the NSA, having eavesdropped on seven calls between al-Mihdhar and the Al Qaeda safe house in Yemen, needed a database containing everyone's phone records to identify the source of those calls. The Justice Department "could have asked the FISA Court for a warrant to all phone companies to show all calls from the U.S. which went to the Yemen number,"  former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke told ProPublica. "Since they had one end of the calls (the Yemen number), all they had to do was ask for any call connecting to it."

It is telling that the administration cannot cite any examples better than this weak counterfactual to illustrate the supposed necessity of the NSA's phone-record dragnet. As ProPublica's Kara Brandeisky notes, "Obama's own review group concluded that the sweeping phone records collection program has not prevented any terrorist attacks."

The reforms Obama announced today confirm that the program's utility has been greatly exaggerated:

I am therefore ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists, and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata….

Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three. And I have directed the Attorney General to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court so that during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding, or in a true emergency.

If such safeguards pose no threat to national security, why is Obama acting only now? Because as long as the program was secret, he did not recognize the privacy threat it posed. But now that it has been revealed by a leak that Obama condemns, he realizes that "without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives and open the door to more intrusive bulk collection programs." He also suddenly is troubled by the fact that the program "has never been subject to vigorous public debate," although his administration did everything in its power to prevent such a debate.

The other reforms that Obama announced today—such as "a panel of advocates from outside government to provide an independent voice in significant cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court" and "additional restrictions on government's ability to retain, search, and use in criminal cases communications between Americans and foreign citizens"—likewise could have been implemented at any point between January 2009 and now. Since Obama insists that "I maintained a healthy skepticism toward our surveillance programs after I became president," it's strange that he waited so long, isn't it?

Obama cannot have it both ways. Either the government's mass collection of every American's telephone records is essential to national security, or it isn't. Either the surveillance activities that ignited public outrage when they were revealed last June amount to nothing more than a "modest encroachment" that "the American people should feel comfortable about," as Obama claimed at the time, or they pose substantial threats to privacy that need to be mitigated, as he indicated today. Either the reforms he announced will protect Americans from indiscriminate snooping, or they are mere window dressing aimed at "giv[ing] the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected" (as he put it today) without actually protecting those rights.

Obama did manage to utter at least one important truth:

Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: trust us, we won't abuse the data we collect. For history has seen too many examples when that trust has been breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends upon the law to constrain those in power.

I believe this, but I do not believe that Obama does.

NEXT: Obama To Allied Leaders: I'll Call if I Want To Know What You're Thinking

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  1. I totally believe this.

    1. Had to imagine hisself back on the plantation there for a few minutes?.

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  2. …”Our system of government […] depends upon the law to constrain those in power.”

    I’m pretty sure he could have read that in Mandarin off the teleprompter for all it means to him.
    It’s a collection of sounds that someone told him to read.

        1. “…and reside in this empty suit!”

          1. . . . a cheap suit.

    1. “Suckers! Ha ha, you all thought there was rule of law! Since there is only rule of man, there is no constraint to my power! Suck it bitches!!!”

    2. By “those in power” he meant other, much less perfect beings than himself.

    3. “Our system of government […] depends upon the law to constrain those in power, who are not President Obama.”

      I think that’s what he really meant.

    4. he told us back in May to reject those voices.

  3. The only substantive reform (in the wrong direction, of course) here is increased monitoring of government employees so there won’t be another Snowden.

    1. THIS^ He doesn’t care that he violated the Constitution, only that he got caught violating the Constitution.

      Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again.

      On the positive side, the outrage of the people appears to have at least some effect.

      1. Exactly, but I’m not so optimistic that there is any positive effect whatsoever. The NSA/FISA fucks have been doing this for years?.they aren’t gonna let a little irritation like this quench the insatiable thirst of the mega doom server farm of truth and knowledge. The circle of control will just need to get a little smaller. And they need to do a better job of convincing the programmers that they are working on the next release of mine craft or something, something?.

    2. Hey Obama. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

  4. Obamacare’s get covered livestream includes a Richard Simmons dance off.

    As Simmons opened and closed his legs and hip thrusted and rolled, he began to spell Obamacare buzzwords to the beat: “C-O-V-E-R-E-D. Get covered for you and me, uh-huh.”

    “This is beautiful,” Hart said, as my brain matter and any notion that the Obama machine ‘gets’ young America both decayed rapidly. “I feel inspired to tell my friends to sign up online.”

    By all appearances, this Woodstock-grade acid trip was not scripted.

    The Obama administration really has its fingers on the pulse of young Americans.

    1. As Simmons opened and closed his legs and hip thrusted and rolled, he began to spell Obamacare buzzwords to the beat: “C-O-V-E-R-E-D. Get covered for you and me, uh-huh.”

      Anyone have some Prussic acid they can give me to pour in my ear, in the hope it will run into the part of brain holding that image?

        1. I’m really beginning to hate Michelle Obama, and I feel bad because it’s not really her fault.

          I just find her increasingly insufferable because of the media’s obsession with her. She isn’t interesting or important, so why is the media desperately trying to convince me she’s just the coolest person ever?

          The New York Times posted this article. It honestly might be even worse.

          The mix of Hollywood and quirky individualism (American caterers, ready yourself for the onslaught of dessert-and-cocktails-only party requests) underscores the conflicting diptych of glamorous mystery woman and regular PTA mother that defines America’s first lady. Five years in, she has cobbled together a full life in Washington.

          Good lord. Pravda’s more objective.

          1. enough of it is her fault. That the media fawns over her like it does Obie has many of the same characteristics.

          2. Good lord. Pravda’s more objective.

            For years…..!

          3. Oh, it’s her fault. She loves this shit. Wookies always love media attention. It’s a species thing.

            It’s amazing how badly the media wants us to love her. Don’t cry for her, Argentina.

          4. I had a chat with a German flight attendant around the first Obama election and he commented that Europeans loved her so much because she was so glamorous. I was confused. Around that time her image management was terrible and she always looked harsh and angry. People see glamour where they want to see it, I suppose.

            1. Europeans have a ridiculous view of American politics in general.

              The idea that Europeans are more worldly than Americans is largely a lie. Europeans know a lot more about Europe than Americans do, but most Europeans can’t locate Wyoming any easier than the average American can locate the Czech Republic.

              They get a very skewed view of American politicians in the same way we get a skewed view of someone like David Cameron or Angela Merkel.

              1. They get a very skewed view of American politicians in the same way we get a skewed view of someone like David Cameron or Angela Merkel.

                The primary difference being that most Americans simply don’t give a shit about European politics, which explains much of their ignorance about the subject.

                Many (not all naturally) Europeans are obsessed with American politics, but know fuck-all about the subject. The difference I’ve seen in interactions about politics and culture between Americans and Europeans is that Europeans are absolutely certain they know what they are talking about and will even argue quite vociferously with an American on points they clearly don’t have a fucking clue about and about the rudest thing an American will do when it’s pointed out that they don’t know about Europe they’ll shrug and say, “Because I don’t fucking care.”

                Americans in Europe are usually there to experience the culture and genuinely want to learn about Europeans. Europeans don’t seem interested in learning anything from Americans because they already know all there is to know. Hell, I’ve seen this kind of boorish, pushy, blithely ignorant behavior from European tourists in the U.S. It’s fucking stultifying.

          5. The comments are New York Times classics!

            I just love Mrs. Obama. She is a great role model for ALL Americans. She could not be a better First Lady representing America. She is doing it her way and that’s what women’s right is about. President Obama knew what he was doing when he proposed to her. BTW, he’s a great President. The right-wingers can’t stand a black family in the White House, but they have handled it with class.

            In many ways the Obama’s are a gift from God to this violent hate filled nation. The penitentiaries filled with black men and women in this nation lead many who hate black people, to use that to justify their unholy hatred, bigotry and discrimination against people of color. Having a First lady of obvious class and elegance raising her family in full view of the public and the world sends a very difference message, hate black people or people of color at your peril, for the days when they were powerless victims are over.

            How do these people breathe and type internet comments at the same time? I’m surprised they have enough brain power to multi-task so effectively.

            1. It looks like it takes every cc of brain power they have.

            2. Well, at least they are astute enough to recognize that we handle our hatred of a black family being in the White House with class. They sure didn’t when a black guy got on the Supreme Court.

              1. I personally just love the hilarious religiosity of progressives when it comes to Obama.

                Given that left-wingers like to talk about the evils of the Southern Bible Belt, bible thumpers, and ‘christfags,’ I wonder what they’d think of the guy who thanks God for the president and refers to any opposition as ‘unholy.’

                I forgot! He’s a black guy who happens to be a psychotic religious fundamentalist. So long as he’s not white his fundamentalist insanity is perfectly respectable.

                1. When I turn 50 in four years and a month from now, I’m going to thank Michelle for redefining what doing so means. I wont have to tread that path like everyone else did before today when she bestowed being fifty with her glamor and enlightenment. Thank you, Michelle.

                  1. I am sorry to hear that dementia hit you so young.

            3. Barf. I’m more feminine than she is and I don’t need a legion of personal attendants to do it.

          6. When I saw that article, my only thought was:

            “Holy shit, that’s the most flattering pic they had?”

            This is the NYT, so of course they are fluffing Michelle for all their worth, and will run the best pic (in contrast, for example, with Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin).

            And the best pic shows her looking borderline pissed off and/or contemptuous? Wow.

          7. What is weird is, she is about as attractive as Eleanor Roosevelt. Who would you rather be stuck on a desert island with, Michelle, or Laura Bush? I’d be frightened Michelle would kill me and eat me.

        2. dress like a wookie and get the to a vomitorium were noticably absent from the list

          1. Why do they need to get to the exit of an amphitheater or theater?

            I’m confused.

            1. The mythical kind.


      1. I’m just shocked – I thought he was dead.

    3. This is a rhetorical tactic used by Open Minded Gay-Friendly UnRacist Progressives =

      Go SO Campy that it becomes highly irritating. When you express your horror and disgust, they point their fingers at you and go, “SEE!! Uptight! this is why you hate Obama!”

      I’m actually not kidding. Proggies use PajamaBoy-hate as a prime example of their smug ability to ‘get it’, while the ‘negativity’ of their opponents just reveals their utter lack of egalitarian sympathies. ‘Look! these RED STATE goofs are taking this stuff *seriously*!”

  5. What the prez really means is, the rights of the right people are protected.

  6. “Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three.”

    Isn’t he informing our adversaries about our intelligence techniques? I hope this doesn’t lead to the next 9-11!

    1. Let’s parse that shall we? This is like the “degrees of Kevin Bacon”. So they have a terror suspect. Let’s call him Jim. They collect all of the records for every phone known to be used by Jim. Simple enough.

      Then they collect all the records for every phone number that Jim ever called, or that ever called Jim. That’s one step removed. Then they collect every record for every number that ever called any of those numbers, or that was ever called from any of those numbers. There’s two steps removed. They’ll no longer go three steps.

      Now, unless Jim only uses his phone to call other terrorists who only use their phones to call each other, no exceptions, this is very quickly going to cover every number in the United States. If Jim calls for a Pizza, suddenly everyone who ever called for a pizza is swept up. Jim calls 411 – boom! just got half the country.

      I’ll bet that using three steps got them pretty much every single number in the nation, depending on how many “terror suspects” they are monitoring. They probably analyzed it and figured that dropping to two steps didn’t materially affect their ability to scoop up data.

      1. They’ll go only 2 levels instead of 6.

        To make up for it they’ll quadruple the number of people they suspect of terrorism.

        1. Bingo. Terror suspect means fuck all these days.

  7. The question is whether this is enough to give journalists an out. Will the story be dropped now? One assumes another Snowden revelation is right around the corner if so.

    1. My optimistic side would like to believe that’s not in the calculation at all, and that they’re just running scared, implementing whatever “reforms” they can, in a desperate bid to appease Snowden, and prevent the release of any more info.

      My optimistic side, though, happens to own lots of ocean front property in Arizona.

      1. I’d hate to see your pessimistic side.

    2. Watched Bloomberg when I went home for lunch. The spokesmodel was gushing over her interview with Ben Rhodes (NSC douche)- big story was that Obama called him at midnight to say he decided to let the phone companies hold the call records rather than NSA.

      Obama’s a badass because he thinks hard and long before making a decision. How this fits in with his wanting to debate this issue for a long time was not discussed.

  8. If you like your privacy, you can keep your privacy. Period.

    1. Hey! That’s my line!

      1. You repeat yourself too much, you need new material anyway.

        1. Hey! That’s my line!

      2. Sorry, I didn’t see it.

  9. I’m still trying to figure out if he actually said anything in the speech. Is my daughter still joining the Junior Spies at age 7, or has that been moved back a year or two?

    1. No, no, no.

      Your daughter will join the “Obama Democratic Youth Movement” at seven.

      She has to snitch on at least 3 of her Brigade Compatriots before she can join the Junior Spies Junior Security Force.

    2. Your daughter is not joining the Junior Spies AT ALL.

      She is being assigned to the “possible terrorist” list now.

      1. She just has to snitch on dad Andrew and she’ll be back in their good graces.

        Watch your back Andrew.

  10. “Believe me, I’ve been listening to your concerns.”

    “I’m just as bugged by this as you are.”

    “And we very rarely watch people while they’re in the shower, so don’t worry about it.”

    1. Obama is against those things that everybody hates.

      1. No one is more frustrated by this than he is.

      2. like Obamacare?

    2. “Believe me, I’ve been listening to your concerns.”

      And noting the names of those of you who dare to express them.

      1. And forwarding their names to the IRS.

        1. Also drones.

      2. “Let a hundred flowers bloom” – Mao

        1. ^This. I give it six months before a terrorist suspect is arrested in the US and it’s discovered that he’d been making calls to some terrorist cell in Yemen with detailed plot info. One month later, the Privacy is for Terrorists Act will be passed, mandating that all telecoms turn any user information–including call data–over to any federal agency that requests it, without a warrant. To protect our freedoms, of course.

    3. “Believe me, I’ve been listening to your concerns.”
      Oh we believe him. In fact I’m sure he’s been listening to concerns we haven’t even told him about.

  11. President Obama’s speech about the NSA reminds me of someone promising to stop cheating on their significant other but then trying to justify why they cheated, and finally acknowledging that the affairs might have gone too far and will try to stop.

    But the cheating won’t stop though. They will just go to a hotel three towns over as oppose to the one in town and will try to clamp down on those who reveals that they are still indeed having the affair.

  12. Obama cannot have it both ways.


  13. With maybe the exception of one or two progressive friends most of them are actually defending his NSA program. The very same people who circa 2004 went apeshit about Bush pulling similar shit. Whenever I’ve tried calling them out on it, they get really angry.

    1. It’s even worse than that. When Bush was doing idiotic shit with the NSA, all we knew was that it was being used to screen calls between America and specific countries.

      We now have proof it goes far beyond that, at which point progressives suddenly decided it’s no big deal.

      They aren’t okay with Obama doing the same stuff as Bush, they’re okay with him being far worse.

      1. Your observation is, of course, right on the money.

        It concerns me, however, (and I’m not accusing you) that I’m seeing more and more self-described rightists/conservatives making this observation with an implication that, somehow, this is a failure unique to the left.

        It’s true, but this is merely the best, most recent example of a technique that has been used by the “power class” for decades, with equal success with both the “left” and the “right” of American politics.

        It’s critically important to recognize that this tendency ? to blindly criticize the other party, and to equally blindly accept the actions of one’s “own” party ? is not a byproduct of any inherent or greater idiocy of the left, but rather is the fatal, crippling flaw of partisanship itself, and that furthermore any who allow themselves to believe that either “side” is more susceptible to this tendency than the other is undoubtedly themselves subject to this same insidious tendency.

        To put it bluntly, if an individual makes the observation you just made, but continues to espouse a partisan preference, that individual is certainly a hypocrite and an imbecile.

        (Again, this isn’t directed at you in particular, but rather what I’m afraid is a growing trend amongst the Reason commentariat.)

        1. Congratulation, the only senseful statement I could find sofar here regarding this matter.

    2. Whenever I’ve tried calling them out on it, they get really angry.

      Please tell me you won’t stop doing this!

      1. I got one feminist angry because I was telling her all of this and I ended it with,” At least you get some free birth control pills.”

        She wanted to murder me.

        1. Legendary.

        2. Why do lesbians need birth control pills? Fear that all men are potential rapists?

          1. We live in a rape culture. Everything is just so rapey. A girl can’t be too careful.

          2. But fuck off if you advise one that maybe they should make themselves less of an attractive target to rapists by not dressing like a slut and getting plastered hammered drunk at a party.

            1. It’s critically important whether this “advice” is given before, or after, the fact of rape.

              It seems that both feminists and anti-feminists are equally content (for their own reasons) to allow the conflation of “advice” with “blaming the victim” to persist.

              Whereas a good number of feminists seem inclined to pretend that advice is always “blaming the victim”, a similar proportion of anti-feminists are every bit as inclined to pretend that blaming the victim is never more than a bit of “advice”.

              I found both groups boringly transparent and non-contributory to debate or the intellectual development of the human race.

    3. Your friends don’t now, and didn’t during the previous administration, give a damn about civil rights. They’re mad because you’re so uncouth as to point that out to them.

    4. go Team.

  14. So we can turn that huge complex at Bluffdale, Utah into the world’s largest outlet mall.

  15. Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three. And I have directed the Attorney General to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court so that during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding, or in a true emergency.

    Is he really this stupid or really this evil? Is it even possible that he honestly thinks that the problem is that “the rules” aren’t right and that if we make just the right tweaks to “the rules” then everyone will be happy and there will be no more problems?

    The problem is that these people are immune to fucking rules

    There can be NO husbanding of these powers to make sure they are used responsibly. Their mere existence ensures that they will be abused.

    As long as these programs continue to operate where the public and its representatives cannot scrutinize them, then there CANNOT exist any “trust” in government. Their need for secrecy is proof that the people should fear them.

    That Obama refuses to acknowledge these simple truths means he is either a hopelessly naive fool, or a sociopathic monster. Both possibilities are equally terrifying.

    1. (talks to watch) “We’ve got one that can see!”

      “Carrying Android phone. Wearing sunglasses.”

      (fiddles with watch and vanishes in a flash)

    2. ^This.

    3. Hopelessly naive narcissist. Like Woodrow Wilson, he can’t possibly fathom that he could be wrong about anything–after all, he was brought up by the right people, went to the right schools, is intelligent, well spoken, and well liked–and that’s why he’s going to continue to pound Americans in the ass. Afterwards, he’ll helpfully explain why it’s for our own good with a narrative we can understand and relate to. That will give us a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.

      Now, another edition of Name That President:

      It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.

      A sound and wise statesmanship which recognizes and attempts to abide by its limitations will undoubtedly find itself displaced by that type of public official who promises much, talks much, legislates much, expends much, but accomplishes little.

      It is a great advantage to a President, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man.

      1. Silent Cal.

    4. Is it even possible that he honestly thinks that the problem is that “the rules” aren’t right and that if we make just the right tweaks to “the rules” then everyone will be happy and there will be no more problems?

      Uh, did you not see the (D) after his name?

      To be fair, it doesn’t matter. If it were an (R) it’d have been the same thing.

      Why do you refuse to see reality? Nobody gives a fuck about their liberty to tell the Federal Government to go fuck itself.

    5. of course you see, his answer to any problem, is more government involvement. Having trouble with the NSA, create a bureaucratic committee to oversee the NSA. Government is the solution to all our problems. Even when the problem is government.

  16. “The systematic undermining of the Constitution will continue, albeit with more detailed procedures. You can all return to your regularly scheduled programming now.”

  17. Hey guys, this gets even better!

    John Podesta is going to be the one who runs the privacy review!

    You know…John Podesta! The guy in charge of totally non-partisan organizations like Think Progress. I’m sure we can expect a thorough and reasonable report on any national security issues.

    1. Obama is the most articulate president in our history. He has more ways to say ‘fuck you’ than all the previous office holders combined.

      1. Really, I can’t argue this point. He’s a human thesaurus for one phrase.

    2. John Podesta is going to be the one who runs the privacy review!

      Yeah… in addition to his other duties attempting to ensure that President Johnny Bravo doesn’t tarnish the TEAM EVIL brand any further.

      Tough being a fixer.

    3. I thought Obama already had a review with some Telecom roundtable? Not that they are going to do anything to rock their gravy train with the .gov

      Only thing that will stop the cooperation of the big telecoms is if they loose a bunch of contracts in foreign countries or Baidu becomes preferred over google and FB.

      1. Nah, when he showed up at the roundtable, he highjacked it to pitch for the OCare website.

      2. or Baidu becomes preferred over google and FB.

        That’s going to happen a lot sooner than you might think, I’d wager.

  18. as it currently exists

    … so they’re covered for whatever they happen to come up with next.

  19. Epic burn from Rand Paul. He just posted on Facebook: “In case you missed it, here’s the cliff notes version of Obama’s proposed NSA reforms”, followed by a picture of the Constitution with the 4th Amendment blacked out.

    1. This bullshit only helps to make Paul’s chances for the White House a little better. Obama is practically campaigning for him now.

      1. Yeah, all 10% of the electorate that cares about privacy will be up for grabs now!

        1. Of course that’s nonsense. This is the one scandal that seems to have some legs. Even His Emptiness felt compelled to “do something.”

          1. The other great thing about it is that all of the likely Dem candidates are undoubtedly knee deep in it: Biden, Hilary, etc.

        2. well, considering only about 30% of voters show up on election day, that could be a pretty big demographic to own. Especially since those people would feel extra incentive to vote someone i who they think would fix the problem.

    2. Hahaha he also posted a picture of him watching Obama’s NSA speech on a computer screen. Haha he is trolling Obama hard.

  20. my roomate’s half-sister makes $89 hourly on the laptop . She has been fired for eight months but last month her pay was $20094 just working on the laptop for a few hours. blog link……..

    1. ^NSA agent spotted.

  21. Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

    [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

    Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

    Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.


    Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

  22. Bruce Schneier, the nationally recognized security and IT expert, briefed members of congress in a closed door session today about what the NSA is up to since Bruce had access to the documents released by Snowden. To repeat: Congress had to go OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT to find out what its own NSA was doing. This is insane.


  23. “I wouldn’t lie to you ten times in a row fuckheads!”


  24. “Obama Suddenly Realizes Mass Surveillance Threatens Privacy”

    Kind of like his Democratic Party finally realized in 1964 they couldn’t openly own human beings just because of the color of their skin?

  25. These talking heads…err, presidents–just get better and better.
    Strange times we’re living in…strange times indeed.

  26. I’m just glad that they are finally gonna shut down that scary Utah Data Center. They are going to shut it down, right? I mean, if they are not going to be storing all of our calls anymore, they can get rid of it, am I correct?

    1. He didn’t say they weren’t going to store all our data, just that they can’t go through it without a court order or if you are within 2 steps of a known terrorist. He didn’t say that the storing of that data was dangerous that i saw. Just that it’s use for metadata was dangerous.

  27. Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three.

    Oh surely that’ll solve everything!

    I’m actually a bit pissed off that most people will be pleased with this.


    1. Just declare that everyone on the 1st order calls must be a terrorist and add them to the list, and now 3rd order calls are second order calls. Problem solved.

  28. Not only does government not have any “right” to spy on Americans, it has no right to privacy. There should be nothing secret from the American people, who are, after all, the owners of the government.
    Write-in Richard McCally Grise http://rich_grise.tripod.com in 2016!

  29. The president’s fixes for NSA are cosmetic at best as is his approach to the economy.

    BUT! Where are your glaring headlines of What The President Just Said??

    Quote: “If the Congress continues to stand for dysfunction and delay, I’m going to move ahead without them. I will do whatever I can without Congress!”

    I did not hear him disclaim or rule out “State of Emergency” or possible execution of a Special Order already written giving him full direct legal and Economic power.

    I’m astounded this is not splashed and discussed throughout the Conservative news. Perhaps we’re lazy! Hedgemastermb.blogspot.con

    1. By the way That is Unconstitutional!

  30. “Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect. For history has seen too many examples when that trust has been breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends upon the law to constrain those in power.”

    Didn’t Obama say we should reject these voices?

  31. Subliminal Obama:

    Given the unique power of the state [drones], it is not enough for leaders to say: trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect [Edward Snowden]. For history has seen too many examples when that trust has been breached [Benghazi]. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power [Democrats]; it depends upon the law [IRS] to constrain those in power [Tea Party].

  32. what Josephine answered I cannot believe that some one able to profit $5028 in 4 weeks on the internet. check this link right here now ?? WWW.????37.???

  33. I’d have thought his Japan ambassador might have told him…

  34. He is a talking, placating, populist. He will not change his policies except verbally, not really to be trusted.

  35. “Fuck! We’re trying to run our operation here without any problems, but since you uppity millennials are so mouthy, I guess I’ll go on TV and make some statements that show I’m sufficiently aware of your ideals to repeat them at you and bestow upon you a feeling of relief that I’m actually an insightful, self-aware President who’s really really gonna try to fix everything that needs fixing. Kiss the ring, bitch.”

    When I was busy making the mistake of going to college at the University of Illinois in Chicago, I actually had a professor who called Obama a “master rhetorician” while somehow keeping a straight face.

    I know, I know. Cue the complete lack of surprise.

  36. Does our President suddenly realize his manners are atrocious, in front of the Queen of England, holding his hand up at a photo op blocking a guest, sending the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. gie me a break, the man needs some serious coaching by someone other than the present.

  37. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again.

  38. is this what obama was instructed to say?

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