“The NSA actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people’s emails, not listening to the contents of their phone calls. Outside of our borders, the NSA’s more aggressive. It’s not constrained by laws.” — Barack Obama, December 5, 2013
It’s hard to believe, after more than six months since Edward Snowden’s first revelations, that anyone with any contact with the news would buy this line from the President. No one accepts that the NSA “does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance” — we’re all well aware that the NSA is all up in our business, all the time, everywhere, for no good reason.
In fact, at this point, I’d suggest that even if Edward Snowden hasn’t revealed that the NSA is doing a specific type of surveillance on us, we all pretty much assume that it’s happening anyway.
“It’s not constrained by laws.” It’s not. Constrained. By laws.
I mean, I appreciate the honesty, but geez. Isn’t Rule #1 of Being President something like “Don’t straight-up tell people you’re letting an insanely powerful and invasive government agency run rampant worldwide without any constraints of law”?
All joking aside, this is an incredibly revealing quote. And you know what? In 2001, it might have worked.
Maybe if most of us didn’t have the modern internet — constant access to a wide variety of news sources and commentary — we wouldn’t instantly dismiss the President’s blatant lie about domestic surveillance.
Maybe if we weren’t at an all time high of public opinion in favor of minding our own business internationally (whjle building friendly trade relations abroad), we wouldn’t care about our government savaging the rest of the world’s privacy.
Maybe if trust of government hadn’t been on a steady decline of 40 points in the last decade (currently just 19% of Americans trust the government), we’d simply accept this line at face value.
Maybe we’d buy this spin.
But it’s not 2001, and only the most absurd Democratic partisans can take this statement from the President as a convincing or moral. For the rest of us, it’s a three-sentence encapsulation of an imperial presidency with no respect for the rights or wishes of American citizens — and the rest of the world.
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