…The differences between then and now are glaring.
The new Obama order covers not only phone calls overseas with the specific goal of counterterrorism surveillance, but all domestic calls by Verizon customers over at least a three-month period.[Update: Some members of Congress have characterized the Obama order as a routine, three-month renewal of Bush’s program. Others believe it has overreached and that Obama’s implementation is “overbroad.”]
Trevor Timm, a digital rights analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the order “shockingly broad.”
“Not only are they intercepting call data into and out of the country, but they are intercepting all call data in the United States, which goes far beyond what the FISA Amendments Act allows,” Timm said.
“This is an abuse of the Patriot Act on a massive scale,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Since the law requires that the telephone records sought be relevant to an investigation, it appears that the FBI and the NSA may have launched the broadest investigation in history because everyone’s telephone calls seem to be relevant to it.”
…The “top secret” order issued in April by a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the request of the FBI instructs the telecommunications giant Verizon to provide the NSA with daily reports of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”
As usual, Obama was against it before he was for it:
It had not previously been confirmed that the Obama administration was conducting similar broad surveillance of calling patterns. However, in 2008 Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to give explicit legal authority to aspects of the program President George W. Bush initiated without requiring a future blessing from lawmakers.
Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama opposed the legislation during his primary battle with Hillary Clinton. However, he reversed course shortly after clinching the nomination and voted for a modified version of the bill.
Here is another key difference between the Bush and Obama administration programs.
Bush was fully engaged and committed to the war on terror when the NSA programs were first exposed in 2005, four short years after the bloody 9/11 attacks.
Obama, by contrast, immediately rejected the war on terror for “workplace violence”/”overseas contingency operations” euphemisms and officially declared last week that America’s war on terror is over.
Which makes you wonder:
What exactly prompted the Obama FBI to seek the sweeping FISA orderon April 25? And why does it extend through July 19?
If it was related to the April 15 Boston terror bombing, how could Obama then stand up at National Defense University on May 23 and so publiclythrow in the towel on combating Islamic jihad?
And if the catalyst for the FISA court order wasn’t the Boston bombing, then why so sweeping and so secretive? If not for the Guardian-published leak, which I must note I find as troubling now as I did during the Bush years, the document would not have been declassified until April 12, 2038.
Another fundamental difference between then and now: While Bush-bashers raised the specter of political spying abuses when the post-9/11 NSA program was exposed, there was never a shred of evidence that such abuses ever took place.
But now, the revelations about Obama’s expansive collection of domestic phone call data come amidst the still-exploding IRS witch hunt scandal, the DOJ/AP snooping scandal, and the invasive DOJ/James Rosen spying scandal — not to mention the gangrenous distrust of government fostered by the stonewalling, lies, and obstruction at the heart of the Benghazi and Fast and Furious national security debacles.
Is it possible that the Obama NSA program has a legitimate counterterrorism/national security objective?
Is it crucially important to consider 1) the creeping, creepy surveillance-state context in which this current administration operates and 2) the naked contempt this current administration has shown for the privacy rights of its political enemies?
Hell yes, absolutely.
George W Bush, as I recall, proceeded by secret presidential decree. Obama has proceeded in accordance with the FISA amendments enacted by Congress in 2008.
Which should be considered more of an affront to the Constitution?
On June 7th Obama went before cameras and (once he found his speech) said he welcomed the debate over the issues involved in his data mining programS.
Later the same day his top law enforcers were giving anonymous quotes to news media about how ”reckless and illegal” it was of somebody to leak the information about Obama’s data mining programS.
So…which is it?
Is Obama looking forward to debate or is Obama going to use some old law still on the books (like the Espionage Act) to hang this leaker who forced a possible debate on Obama’s once-secret data mining programs?
And, yes, the differences between Bush and Obama on this are glaring.
I saw no indication that Obama was ever going to stop data mining on innocent people.
Maybe he was thinking that, if he messed with their rights long enough they might become criminals ….and he’d be ready to pounce.
And, yes, Obama declaring surrender in the war on Islamic terrorists means he has no authorization to continue acting as if America has enemies within…..even though it does.
He’s either got to get back on board the war on terror or he’s got to quit the data mining.
At Gateway Pundit there is a story about the NSA using their information to go after personal enemies; if that was done, what makes one believe that the government isn’t misusing the info. That much power under any administration is too much. But Obama has expanded it to contacts among Americans not just overseas contacts. Yet the Boston Bombers were not caught by this dragnet if it was in force prior to 4/25/13 since this was supposedly only a renewal of the Patriot Act.