July 14, 2013

President Obama Address NSA Surveillance Concerns: You Can Trust Me I Am A Trustworthy Robot

Partial Transcript: "It was concerning when the Bush administration was secretly collecting your information. Heck, I had concerns back then myself. But, everyone knows that George W. Bush was not a good President. Whereas, I am a good President. See the difference? So, while you could not trust George W. Bush to secretly collect your data, you can trust me. I'm a trustworthy guy.

"Another important difference between my administration and the Bush administration is that when the Bush administration secretly spied on you, the Bush administration could not point to a single judge willing to say their program was legal. We, on the other hand, can point to such a judge. I'm not going to tell you who this judge is, or why he or she thinks our program is legal. If I did that, it would, obviously be harder for me to convince you that the program is legal. Instead, I'm just going to tell you that we secretly found one judge who was willingly to secretly say that it was legal for us to collect all of your data....

"The Bush administration could not tell you that it had informed Congress. Whereas my administration took steps to ensure that if you ever found out about our secret surveillance program, we could tell you that we informed Congress. To be clear, when I say 'we informed Congress,' I am not saying that we did out best to ensure that Congress had enough information to have an informed debate on this vital national security issue. What I am saying is that we informed Congress enough for me to stand here and tell you that 'we informed Congress.' What Congress actually knew is not important....

"If Congress did not want us to secretly interpret the law, then Congress should not have passed a law for us to secretly interpret....

"If you, the American people, did not want me to secretly collect your data, then you should not have elected me President. Yes, I know many of you were probably unaware that I wanted to secretly collect your data, especially since I said I would not secretly collect your data. But, I choose to believe that you elected me to be your President, because you believe that if someone has to secretly collect your data, that someone should be me. And, as we all know, my secret interpretations of your support are more important than the reasons you actually supported me.

"Finally, while I do not believe there is any reason to debate this issue, I will tell you that I welcome a debate on this issue. In fact, I'm so grateful that Edward Snowden started this debate that I have decided to stop at nothing to ensure he spends the rest of his life in a federal prison."

Posted by gerardvanderleun at July 14, 2013 10:30 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

The main argument I got from more thoughtful critics of President Bush was that we wouldn't want a leftist or Democrat president to have this power, so we should oppose the wiretapping etc as well.

Of course now that there IS a leftist/Democrat doing it, they are mum on the topic. At worst they are mildly concerned but hey, Obama's a good guy so it will all be okay!

Except he's doing far more than the Bush administration was, and has demonstrated a definite tendency to sic the government on political enemies using the information gathered through this spying, so that's a bit more troubling...

Incidentally, one of the FISA judges that oversee wiretapping etc by the federal government said what the Bush administration was doing was legal. He was retired, but still was on the panel in the past. So its not true to say no judges signed off on his program.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at July 14, 2013 9:47 PM

It's too bad xtranormal is going out of business.

Posted by: ahem at July 15, 2013 7:04 AM

"The main argument I got from more thoughtful critics of President Bush was that we wouldn't want a leftist or Democrat president to have this power, so we should oppose the wiretapping etc as well.

Of course now that there IS a leftist/Democrat doing it, they are mum on the topic. At worst they are mildly concerned but hey, Obama's a good guy so it will all be okay!

Except he's doing far more than the Bush administration was, and has demonstrated a definite tendency to sic the government on political enemies using the information gathered through this spying, so that's a bit more troubling..."

One of the big problems I see with this.... if we limited as a matter of principle the government's powers to what we'd be willing to trust a chicken@#$% little $%@# of a corrupt Chicago ward heeler with, it wouldn't have been able to handle major crises like, for example, WW2.

Posted by: Phil Fraering at July 15, 2013 8:21 AM

Phil, I would suggest there is a legal, constitutional remedy that we have not used in the last 72 years. We have sent troops to Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf a couple of times, Afghanistan, Somalia, been involved in numerous "kinetic" actions like Kosovo and Libya. But the last time we had a formal declaration of war was after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

That's what Bush should have done, but that would have required defining the enemy instead of a tactic.

Posted by: mushroom at July 15, 2013 9:22 PM