Obama’s NSA Speech: More Politics Than Policy Reform

“President Obama’s announced solution to the NSA spying controversy is the same unconstitutional program with a new configuration.” —Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Video: President Obama Calls for Overhaul of N.S.A.’s Phone Data Collection Program

NSA Agents

By Marion Algier – Ask Marion

President Barack Obama announced on Friday (today) that he will require intelligence agencies to obtain permission from a secret court before tapping into a vast storehouse of telephone data, and will ultimately move that data out of the hands of the government. He also defended NSA operatives saying the agents were “our neighbors and friends.”

National Journal reported highlights from his speech:

In a bid to calm growing privacy concerns about the government’s spying powers, President Obama outlined a series of steps Friday aimed at ushering in “concrete and substantial” reforms to the National Security Agency.

“Americans recognized that we had to adapt to a world in which a bomb could be built in a basement and our electric grid could be shut down by operators an ocean away,” the president said during a major policy speech at the Department of Justice.

“And yet,” he added, “in our rush to respond to very real and novel threats, the risks of government overreach—the possibility that we lose some of our core liberties in pursuit of security—became more pronounced.”

“The reforms I’m proposing today,” Obama said toward the end of the speech, “should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe.”…

…The White House also released a policy directive Friday morning, which recognizes that “signals intelligence activities and the possibility that such activities may be improperly disclosed to the public pose multiple risks,” including harming international relationships. The directive also orders that “privacy and civil liberties shall be integral considerations in the planning of U.S. signals intelligence activities.”

While the president recognized the surveillance program has grown in recent years, he also strongly defended those who work in the intelligence community, saying they do not abuse power. “After all,” he said, “the folks at NSA and other intelligence agencies are our neighbors and our friends.”

“Those who defend these programs are not dismissive of civil liberties,” Obama said.

Very few have found comfort or even the hope of believability in Obama’s NSA speech.

Jeff Addicott’s Terrorism Law Report:  Throughout his Administration, President Obama has been more about political expediency than real policy reform, and today’s speech addressing proposed changes to how the National Security Agency goes about gatherings its information was merely more of the same.

The controversy over the revelations that the NSA has been spying on Americans has proved embarrassing for the President, and so today’s speech was made in large part to address the controversy.

Though I’ve long since maintained that it’s important to balance the need for civil liberties with the need for increased lawful security, living in a post-9/11 world makes it necessary for us to err on the side of security. And I’ve also long since maintained that if you’re trying to stop a terrorist attack at the airport, you very well may be too late – therefore, those in charge of national security should be able to use any tools available to stop terrorist plans before they manifest into full-fledged attacks.

But today’s list of policy changes from President Obama don’t substantively change how the United States goes about its business of gathering domestic intelligence. Though U.S. spy agencies will no longer hold call records, the government can still access this information whenever it needs to – which doesn’t materially change how the information collected will be reviewed or used.

Substantive changes in laws governing surveillance should come from Congress, be it via amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or through new legislation to deal specifically with digital and cell phone communications. It’s not surprising that President Obama would opt to create new policy on his own rather than to work in a bipartisan manner with Congress to collaborate on this crucial issue.

And it also won’t be surprising if these measures don’t help President Obama regain the trust of the American public, be it on behalf of the National Security Agency or in his ability to strike the right balance between security and liberty. This Administration promised to be the most transparent in the history of the United States, and it’s failed to live up to this promise. And even if President Obama were offering up real reform in today’s speech, the American public is firmly in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” camp – and the measures being offered today will hardly be worth watching.

“The president’s speech was empathetic, balanced and thoughtful, but insufficient to meet the real needs of our globally connected world and a free Internet.” —Ed Black of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which represents Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other concerned tech companies

Audio: RUSH: Did You Notice The Size Of The Flags Behind Obama At NSA Speech?

Did you happen to see the size of those flags behind Obama at the National Security Agency speech?  Those flags are getting bigger and bigger and bigger every speech he makes.  And, you know, that’s what dictators do.  As our liberties and our freedoms shrink, the symbols get bigger and bigger and bigger.  It happens all over the Third World.  You can see it.  Read More Here: Obama’s NSA BS: As Our Liberties Shrink, the Flags Behind the Dictator Get Bigger

Audio: RUSH: NSA Data Mining Isn’t Stopping Any Terrorism

RUSH: NSA Data Mining Isn’t Stopping Any Terrorism

Obama faced criticism on both sides ahead of NSA speech 

Obama’s NSA speech: 53 years after Ike’s warning 

Judge Jeanine Pirro Opening Statement – Benghazi IRS NSA 1-11-2014 

Inside TAO… NSA Intercepts Your Mail 

Inside the mind of NSA chief General Keith Alexander 

The Rewards Of ‘Cooperation’ With The NSA – Verizon Given Huge Federal Contract

“President Obama’s speech today left many crucial questions unanswered. Now is the time for Congress to improve how it executes its constitutional oversight duties, to examine certain signals intelligence collection activities and practices, and to ensure that we are fulfilling our obligation to protect both the security of our nation and the freedom of our citizens.” —Sen. John McCain, R-AZ

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
This entry was posted in Asshats, Big Brother, Constitution, Knowledge Is Power, Lies, low-informed voters, manipulation of the public, Military, News and politics, Politics, Wake Up, Watch the Other Hand. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Obama’s NSA Speech: More Politics Than Policy Reform

  1. Pingback: The Wrap at Ask Marion 1.12.14 Thru 1.19.14 | askmarion

  2. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Former NSA Employee Speaks Out About its Corruption | askmarion

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