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NYT ‘Dials Back’ Its Editorial Criticizing Obama

From the New York Times:

President Obama’s Dragnet

By the Editorial Board | June 6, 2013

Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.

And who also told us that the war on terror is over.

The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.

Hilariously, the original version of this editorial put the above sentence this way: "The administration has now lost all credibility." Which is actually true. But The Times can’t handle so much truth at one time.

Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.

This? From the nation’s loudest proponents for the expansion of government?

That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers…

And never mind that Obama-Care was also hurriedly enacted without being read, for which there was no excuse.

Essentially, the administration is saying that without any individual suspicion of wrongdoing, the government is allowed to know whom Americans are calling every time they make a phone call, for how long they talk and from where.

This sort of tracking can reveal a lot of personal and intimate information about an individual. To casually permit this surveillance — with the American public having no idea that the executive branch is now exercising this power — fundamentally shifts power between the individual and the state, and it repudiates constitutional principles governing search, seizure and privacy…

Shifts that the editors at The Times usually applaud.

We are not questioning the legality under the Patriot Act of the court order disclosed by The Guardian. But we strongly object to using that power in this manner. It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed, when he said in 2007 that the surveillance policy of the George W. Bush administration “puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.” …

Boy, the editors are so mad they are even pointing out Obama’s rampant hypocrisy.

Stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.

Bold words. (Not.)

Lest we forget, back in 2006 the New York Times did limit themselves to mere words. They actually sued the Pentagon over NSA’s data mining under Bush.

From the Reuters archives:

NYT sues Pentagon over domestic spying

February 28th, 2006

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York Times sued the U.S. Defense Department on Monday demanding that it hand over documents about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program.

The Times wants a list of documents including all internal memos and e-mails about the program of monitoring phone calls without court approval. It also seeks the names of the people or groups identified by it.

The Times in December broke the story that the NSA had begun intercepting domestic communications believed linked to al Qaeda following the September 11 attacks…

Bush called the disclosure of the program to the Times a "shameful act" and the U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation into who leaked it…

But something tells us they aren’t going to sue the Obama administration.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, June 7th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “NYT ‘Dials Back’ Its Editorial Criticizing Obama”

  1. Know what’s missing in the list that follows?

    The CIA, FBI, NSA et al inter-alia are prevented by the Fourth Amendment from doing what they really want to do (until an unnamed Federal Judge bent over and took it etc etc). But that’s where the angst begins, not ends.

    1960, the American intelligence community and Britain’s GCHQ arrived at a clever Agreement – since the Brits were similarly constrained in regards to their own citizens.

    We would spy on (capture all signals) all British citizens, and … GCHQ would spy on (capture all signals) all Americans.

    Then each would exchange data This way both sides could say before their respective elected masters that (hand on Bible) “I am not spying on the citizens of this nation!”

    What PRISM, Twinkler, INSLAW, PROMIS, et al represent is but variations on this theme. This shiite is not new, by any means. Wake up and smell the fear.

    1919 – The U.S. Department of State quietly approves the creation of the Cipher Bureau, also known as the “Black Chamber.” The Black Chamber is a precursor to the modern-day National Security Agency. It was the United States’ first peacetime federal intelligence agency.

    1945 – The United States creates Project SHAMROCK, a large-scale spying operation designed to gather all telegraphic data going in and out of the United States. The project, which began without court authorization, is terminated after lawmakers begin investigating it in 1975.

    1952 – President Harry Truman secretly issues a directive to create the National Security Agency, which allows the Defense Department to consolidate surveillance activities after World War II.

    1972 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to surveillance for domestic threats. The case, the United States v. U.S. District Court, established the precedent that warrants were needed to authorize electronic spying, even if a domestic threat was involved.

    1976 – Inspired by the Watergate scandal, Senator Frank Church leads a select committee to investigate federal intelligence operations. Its report, released in 1976, detailed widespread spying at home and abroad, and concluded that “intelligence agencies have undermined the constitutional rights of citizens.” The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was created as a check on U.S. surveillance activities.

    1978 – Senator Church’s report also results in Congress passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). It sets up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to consider requests for secret warrants for domestic spying.

    2001 – FISA resurfaces in the news after the September 11 attacks on the United States. Soon after the attacks, President George W. Bush signs off on a secret NSA domestic spying program. In October, Congress passes the USA PATRIOT Act, a sweeping law designed to bolster U.S. counterterrorism efforts that expands domestic surveillance capabilities.

    2003 – In September, Congress votes to shut down the Pentagon Information Awareness Office, host of the proposed Total Information Awareness Program, after public outcry that the computer surveillance program could lead to mass surveillance.

    2005 – A flurry of attention hits the government’s domestic surveillance program when the extent of President George W. Bush’s NSA spying policy is revealed by the New York Times. The investigation exposes the agency’s massive, warrantless, tapping of telephones and emails.

    2006 – In February, USA Today reports that the NSA had worked with telecommunications companies including AT&T and Sprint in its warrantless eavesdropping program. Three months later the newspaper reveals that the agency had been secretly collecting tens of millions of phone records from companies including Verizon.

    2007 – Congress passes the Protect America Act, which amends FISA and expands the government’s warrantless eavesdropping authority by lowering warrant requirements.

    2008 – In the final months of his presidency, Bush oversees passage of further amendments to FISA, giving telecommunications companies immunity if they cooperate with NSA wiretapping. Then-Senator Barack Obama voted for the bill, breaking from his Democratic base.

    2012 – The issue of domestic spying largely falls out of headlines during Obama’s first years in office, but reappears in 2012 when the Director of National Intelligence authorizes Oregon Senator Ron Wyden to reveal that procedures of the government’s surveillance program had been found “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment” at least once by FISC.

    2013 – Obama defends the government’s surveillance programs following media reports that federal authorities had gained access to personal emails and files through the servers of major technology companies, and that the NSA had been reviewing phone records provided by major telecommunications corporations. Obama says the programs were overseen by federal judges and by Congress.


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