Instead of Reining In Mass Surveillance, Obama Tries to Put Lipstick On a Pig

Member of Oversight Committee Calls It “Shameful”

In August, we noted that Obama’s promises to rein in NSA spying weren’t credible:

President Obama just announced that he’s making “reforms” to the NSA spying program.

Should we believe him?

Obama’s claim this week that the government doesn’t spy on Americans is totally false. Not only is the NSA spying on Americans, but it’s sharing that information with a variety of other agencies … like the IRS and local law enforcement.

Obama made other easily-disprovable claims today …

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Senator Ron Wyden – a member of the Intelligence Committee – points out:

Notably absent from President Obama’s speech was any mention of closing the backdoor searches loophole that potentially allows for the warrantless searches of Americans’ phone calls and emails under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The New York Times Editorial Board writes:

President Obama, who seems to think the American people simply need some reassurance that their privacy rights are intact, proposed a series of measures on Friday that only tinker around the edges of the nation’s abusive surveillance programs.

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The collection of records will continue as it has for years, gathering far more information than is necessary to fight terrorism.

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Fundamentally, Mr. Obama does not seem to understand that the nation needs to hear more than soothing words about the government’s spying enterprise. He suggested that if ordinary people trusted the government not to abuse their privacy, they wouldn’t mind the vast collection of phone and e-mail data.

Bizarrely, he compared the need for transparency to showing his wife that he had done the dishes, rather than just telling her he had done so. Out-of-control surveillance is a bit more serious than kitchen chores. It is the existence of these programs that is the problem, not whether they are modestly transparent. As long as the N.S.A. believes it has the right to collect records of every phone call — and the administration released a white paper Friday that explained, unconvincingly, why it is perfectly legal — then none of the promises to stay within the law will mean a thing.

Indeed, even Obama admitted that he’s not going to do anything to actually rein in spying:

To allay concerns, Obama endorsed modest oversight changes to a program he says already has plenty of it. None of them significantly changes the programs, and the president acknowledged they were intended to appease Americans, not to curtail the surveillance.

Once again – when bad government policy is revealed – the government just tries to put lipstick on the pig.

Top NSA whistleblower William Binney – the 32-year high-level NSA cryptographer and former head of the NSA’s global digital data gathering program – has explained that it is technically easy and cheap to rein in the spying program so that it complies with the Constitution.

Binney told me that the only way to stop the mass surveillance on Americans is to fire the corrupt government officials who let it happen.

He’s right.

As we explained 5 years ago, the only way to stop the ransacking of our prosperity and our constitutional rights is to fire the guys who keep fleecing us again and again.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words over 100 years ago apply rather well to the government officials who have repeatedly lied about spying:

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

Indeed, Obama appointed the fox to investigate the henhouse, appointing James Clapper to lead the NSA oversight effort. Clapper lied under oath to Congress, and the 9/11 Commission chair, author of the Patriot Act, and American public all want Clapper persecuted for perjury regarding spying.

We noted in November:

Only 11% of Americans trust Obama to actually do anything to rein in spying

We were right to doubt Obama’s sincerity.

Obama is simply going to put lipstick on a pig … and make no real changes.

As the Guardian reports:

A participant in a White House-sponsored review of surveillance activities described as “shameful” an apparent decision to leave most of the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk spying intact.

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“The review group was searching for ways to make the most modest pivot necessary to continue business as usual,” Meinrath said.

And the Washington Post writes:

The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement under which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command, U.S. officials said. The decision by President Obama comes amid signs that the White House is not inclined to impose significant new restraints on the NSA’s activities and favors maintaining an agency program that collects data on virtually every phone call that Americans make ….   Some officials, including top U.S. intelligence officials, had argued that the NSA and Cyber Command should be placed under separate leadership to ensure greater accountability and avoid an undue concentration of power.

***

“The big picture is there’s not going to be that much [additional] constraint” by the White House, said a second U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “They’re really not hurting [NSA] that much.”

Of course, the other main defenders of the status quo – congressional intelligence chairs Feinstein and Rogers – are mounting their own phony “reform” efforts.

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  • arrestthensa

    The NSA owns Obama, plain and simple. He has no power over them. The NSA in turn is owned by Israel through its software and hardware (not to mention treaties) and is the power source of AIPAC, the unregistered foreign agents and blackmailers. Chicago’s Abner Mikvaner says “Obama is our first Jewish president” — what more is there to say. They have him by the short and curlies.

    • Tonto

      A lot of opinionated bloggers (and comment posters on blogs) are sure the world troubles are all due to the Jewish influence in our culture. It’s a lame proposal for explaining what is going on, incredibly lame. The Jewish people in our culture are as varied as the population at large. The Jewish people do not represent a class of overlords, as is commonly expressed by loopy bloggers and comment posters.

      Consider, 1) Americans have been brought right to the edge of World War III. 2) Americans are clearly in a driving-nascent period of a war economy brought about by a worldwide economic depression. 3) Americans are spied upon to ensure those who seek to control future events, have all the information needed to move public (and world) opinion in the direction they want it moved.

      It’s important to -assume- for argument’s sake, that we are being spied upon for our own good, and for the good of the nation and the world. Huh? How does that work?

      We are in a worldwide economic depression. The really intensive digital spying started way-back when Internet companies realized they could watch what everyone was doing and then target market to consumers the products they were interested in. When the global economy collapsed (1999-2000 and again in 2008-2009), these efforts were redoubled in the hope of resurrecting the (new) economy. Intensive digital spying actually makes for a more docile consumer populace, because we are all better handled, due to the better knowledge available to government and business about what consumers are thinking and doing.

      Marketing by digital snooping didn’t help matters as much as it was hoped. A new problem of imbalance arose. The U.S. deficit and deficit of other western nations rose sharply. China began its precarious ascent. This caused Western governments to implement a new strategy to impoverish Western consumers, so that China could be economically toppled, because the Western markets upon which their economy depends, were drying up. Mission accomplished. This strategy is definitely working. China is in a horrible mess. China is looking for world war III as a means to keep its revolution-prone people preoccupied with something other than revolution.

      This is all good for the West when viewed in this perspective. And one of the keys to the information-driven economy is extensive surveillance so the Western governments know what is possible, and what is not possible. All this information is applied toward judging how to shape opinions and moving markets.

      One thing the information-driven economy provides is the sure knowledge of just how effective propaganda campaigns are playing out. There is big propaganda and small propaganda. There is political propaganda and economic propaganda. Information-driven control comes to play in all aspects of measuring the effectiveness of propaganda campaigns. Propaganda does no good, if your propaganda-target is laughing at you for being so obvious.

      Here’s an example. Right now the Western media controls the day-to-day script concerning news events that affect markets worldwide. This strategic advantage is key to controlling and capturing capital around the world. How so? Imagine being able to play the world’s stock and commodity markets, knowing what was going to be headlining in the news the following day. That is what is going on day-to-day in the world’s marketplaces. That’s all part of the purpose of the spying and propaganda in the information-driven scheme of things.

      Don’t consider yourself being spied upon or lied to. Consider yourself to be part of a larger group that is in a state of war, and all the outrage goes away. We are in a state of war. It’s not total war yet. But it’s getting very close to being total war. And the information-driven scheme of things is really the only thing holding back total war.

      In such a reality, you and I have absolutely no expectation of privacy, OR, any expectation of knowing exactly what is going on in the world. You are expected to be a team player during wartime. Those who ignore this advice, risk severe censorship in a time of war.

      • mel

        How many Israeli officials were surveilled by NSA? ZERO.

  • tony

    It should be clear to everyone that America is now a fascist nation. The leadership fears the people since the alternative version of events via the Internet means millions have figured out their scam.

  • The Big Picture is to spend as much of the people’s money on technology as possible and make sure it is spent among friends.
    How much has been spent to shore up outdated computer suppliers etc. and buy their cumbersome software.
    It’s not about terror or spying it is about buying, buying and more buying.
    They’ll probably all be billionaires shortly after leaving office.

    • arnieus

      You are looking at the big picture through the wrong end of telescope with blinders on. The people behind all this have all the money there is and make more with a few keystrokes. They are neo aristocrats who want to use new means to achieve very old ends. The NSA power to watch every body all the time is unprecedented. Free people can not allow such power and remain free.

      People no longer believe in the divine right of kings to own everything, but we allow the apparently divine right to create money and buy everything. Either way you and I end up as serfs who live and die at their whim. We were suckered into a game of Monopoly we can never win. We must invent our own game.

  • Fullblad

    The NSA has been spying on Americans for decades, but now with today’s technologies have exponentially expanded that spying under the cover of looking for terrorists. You can bet they have thick files on every politician from the local town mayor to the president and beyond including their paymasters. Rein them in? Obama’s reforms if anything will further the NSA’s and other secret intelligence agencies abilities behind some illusory window dressings. The NSA like their Wall Street buddies are TBTF,TBTJ, and TBT Fire. Only the people can save themselves and too many are too apathetic to realize the freedoms they have lost.Gore Vidal said that the American experiment in republican democracy was over with the “election” of baby Bush. Unfortunately, barring some cataclysmic mass epiphany, Vidal was most certainly correct.

  • Defiant

    “…Obama tries to put lipstick on a pig!”
    That phrase just about sums up Obama’s entire legacy. And I’m not even going to say that it refers to helping Moochelle with her make-up!

  • gozounlimited

    Result?…… Millennials Finally Turn Against Obama, Want Recall

    Another factor contributing to Millennial dissatisfaction is the vast domestic surveillance state imposed by this administration. What was once considered a Republican area – national security – has now been taken to new lengths by the left under Obama. Millennials are wired morethan previous generations, so spying on their wireless phones, email and social media activity disproportionately affects them. It is no coincidence that the individual who leaked information about the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, Edward Snowden, Is only 30. Read More: http://townhall.com/columnists/rachelalexander/2013/12/16/millennials-finally-turn-against-obama-want-recall-n1763449/page/full

    • gozounlimited

      Purple Lips Sink Ships!

  • Zane Zodrow

    “Lipstick on a pig” ? I thought muslims didn’t like pork. jk

  • amerikagulag

    He HAS to put lipstick on that Kosher swine more affectionately known as NSA. They are after all, his BOSS! Israel runs the show.