Obama’s NSA proposals fall far short of real change

“The White House promised Friday that it was ending the NSA’s most controversial surveillance program ‘as it currently exists,” James Oliphant reports for National Journal. But make no mistake, it’s still going to exist.”

“In fact, what President Obama has announced will have little operational effect on the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ data. And, significantly, the administration has attempted to dodge some of the biggest decisions, passing the ball to Congress, which will likely do nothing if recent trends hold,” Oliphant reports. “The president didn’t come close to what privacy advocates have wanted—a sharp culling of the program or its outright termination. Instead, the goal of Friday’s announcement — as it has always been — was to reassure a skittish public both here and abroad that the program is being used responsibly. ‘This is a capability that needs to be preserved,” a senior administration official said.'”

“The president made two major policy prescriptions. First, he called for the data to be housed somewhere other than within the government. Second, he said before the NSA can search the calling-record database, it should obtain judicial approval,” Oliphant reports. “To the first, the president would not specify where the data will be ultimately stored. He wants the Justice Department and the intelligence community to come up with a proposal within 60 days… To the second of Obama’s measures, judicial oversight will come in the form of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which critics say acts as a rubber stamp for government surveillance requests, rather than by more independent-minded federal judges on other courts.”

“Most important, many of the recommendations the president made Friday are perishable,” Oliphant reports. “Ultimately Congress will have to determine the data-collection and storage issues and other major elements of the program, including the procedures of the FISA court, when it reauthorizes the NSA program this spring at the end of the 60-day window outlined by the president.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Blah, blah, blah. More pablum for the masses. Nothing of substance.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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  1. Wow. Talk about being screwed by those elected. Given political track records of making good on their promises and the incredibly feeble attempt to fix problems that is being promised we are pretty much assured that nothing is going to change. Shocker?

    1. Can’t wait for the campaign, although I am skeptical that candidates from either major party will stand up and say that these types of programs should end. When asked the tough questions about what they believe and what they would do if elected, I’ll bet we’ll see most candidates dancing around the answer, albeit each one doing a different step.

  2. Blah, blah, blah. More pablum for the masses. Nothing of substance.

    The Obama presidency in a nutshell – except for where he’s wrecking the economy by bailing out automakers who should have been allowed to go into bankruptcy in order to emerge healthier, vetoing pipelines and preventing Gulf drilling which increases unemployment along with fuel prices, and imposing a nationwide insurance fiasco that will take years to clean up and actually end up killing a great many people.

      1. The banks were forced by Clinton to lend billions into black ghettos. Under threat of loosing their licenses, they did and it caused the sub prime collapse and the recession.

        Heil Obama… FORWARD Comrads!

        You dumb jackasses

        1. Excuse your racism. It was not just “black ghettos”, as you so rudely put it, but extraordinary demands to extend loans to unqualified borrowers of all racial stripes anywhere. Typically they were characterized as “NINJA loans'” No Income, No Job, Approved! This ease of approval resulted in upward pressure on the housing market and a rise in prices. . . beyond what a truely free market would have supported. Unscrupulous lenders inflated incomes for these unqualified borrowers even beyond legitimate levels to put them in houses they were ill suited for, offering “Flex loans” where borrowers were told they could pay monthly what they could afford rather than the true debt service. NONE OF THIS WAS SUSTAINABLE! All of it was caused by the Democrats forcing the banks to make sub-par loans… and greed in the lending markets at the retail level among unscrupulous mortgage preparers. Then the monetizing of this crap debt and the permissiveness of FANNIE & FREDDIE allowing packaging of these junk mortgages to be sold as Grade A loans when they were anything but, set the stage for the crash. George W. Bush made EIGHT attempts to introduce legislation to get this under control but Chris Dodd and Barney Frank killed all eight attempts.

        2. Yes, the administration was trying to make sure that there was no racial discrimination in lending, but that was it.

          It was the lenders that went hog wild, and their policy is not dictated by anyone other than themselves subject to generally applicable banking law. And Wall Street obliged by providing derivatives (packaged loans) and credit default swaps so that the mortgage lenders could lay off the paper on someone else. As the lenders knew they would not be stuck with weak loans, they just made as many loans as they could secure in the knowledge that Wall St would take the risk. And then, as she wrote …

    1. In my practice, as far as healthcare, I could say the opposite is true.

      Prior to January 1, access to healthcare was so severely limited for many people who could not get insurance, that there have certainly been deaths which could have been avoided.

      I have patients right now, this week, able to get medication they need because they now have insurance which they have obtained because of the ACA, that they could not get even a month ago.

      We can have an honest disagreement and dialog about solutions to problems. Just wanted to say that my opinion on the ACA comes from first hand daily experience with healthcare.

      1. Oh Psycodennis, I too work in the health industry and I just HAVE to call BS on your post! Which patients are YOU seeing of the 6 million, 4.5 million of which signed up for MedicAid, I.E. welfare. . . And the all the others are now working their way through high deductibles and co-pays before they see ANY benefits at all. Many who had insurance no longer have it because they can’t afford the new rates. . . many of our patients are telling us that the prescriptions they depend on are no longer covered, or the co-pay has quadrupled, or their pharmacy can not serve them. My own office’s medical plan that we were guaranteed would be continued until December 2014 by Blue Shield at the same rate as last year was just billed to us for January with a $370 per month increase after two employees were removed because they aged out into Medicare! That should have resulted in a $1600 monthly decrease! Affordable Care Act, my ass!

    2. A completely clueless post about Obama and the economy coming from a resident far right MDN troll.

      FACT: Policies introduced by Reagan and Bush Jr. have elevated US debt far more than any policy introduced by Obama. The bailouts where started under Bush after he and Chaney fucked the economy and continued under Obama per the advice of a majority of economists.

  3. Why is everyone suddenly acting like this is a new thing? This nonsense has been going on since 2003, under Bush. This seems like another political hit piece designed to spread FUD about Obama. At least Obama knows this is an issue and is doing what he can do to minimize it.

      1. You constantly mislead folks with your simplistic take on US politics. NBC news states that the amount has doubled. They also say that it doubled every year since the Patriot Act was passed.

    1. Apollonia,

      Seriously, somehow you pinned this on Bush?! It’s been going on a lot longer then 2003. Collecting information on our own people has been going on for decades. Only how they do it changes all the time. The question is when are we going to have a president that has the balls to stand up for our rights. Obviously it’s not Obama.

    1. Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

  4. Outrageous.

    The “judicial review” is by a court in name only. There’s no adversarial process, there are secret rulings, and no appeals process. Beyond that, it dosen’t seem that there’s a requirement for a specific warrant (identifying the person, time and thing to be searched). So could they not just grant a general warrant like they do now? (We’d never know — it’s secret).

    And this is for just one of these illegal, unconstitutional, and un-American programs. What about all of the other spying? What about text messages, browser histories, email, etc. etc. etc.

  5. It is still a violation of the foundational laws of the land here in the USA. They are to seek approval PRIOR TO getting the personal data and they are to declare AT THAT TIME PRIOR TO the invasion of our privacy exactly what they are looking for. NOT AFTER they find something.

  6. We need to push hard for term limits. No more career politicians in Congress, Senate, Judges, Governors etc. Two four year terms maximum, for everyone. Reduce their salaries so only people who truly want to serve We The People will bother to run for office. Any benefits such as Health Care expire at the end of their terms in office, no Retirement plans. Eliminate lobbyists. Reduce the Federal Government like the IRS etc. Mandatory spending audits by non-governmental agencies. Etc, Etc, Etc.

  7. How many of the screamers about the NSA willingly use Facebook and any google services etc etc etc and then object to this? WHAT is the difference? NOTHING. NADA. ZERO. Totally laughable. You are fooling yourselves if you think you have privacy and use much of anything on the net – you give give up your privacy rights with every click of the keyboard and mouse/trackpad.

  8. The day when computer-embeded devices are capable of monitoring every second of our lives is not far away. The question is where should the line be drawn? Just because the NSA can obtain deeply invasive data in our privacy doesn’t mean they should be able to get it. I firmly believe that the time to set up solid privacy barriers are not when we lose our rights but before.

  9. Before making up your mind on this issue, maybe you should imagine where it is all leading…

    Watch the academy award nominated documentary DIRTY WARS – it’s available on Netflix (if you don’t have an account, open a one month free trial just to see this movie!)

    I have nothing to do with the movie or arms sales … Just want America back on the high moral ground…

    Tom O’Connell

  10. Obama’s NSA rhetoric today was HEAVY with bullshit. He talked about protecting US citizen privacy while doing literally NOTHING to stop it from being treasonously invaded by the NSA. It’s called ‘talking out your ass’.

    FRACK YOU Mr. President. It’s time for impeachment.

  11. Is it Bush, is it Obama, ha come on, there is no rolling up of the sleeves and getting right down to it. The weeee the people need to grow a spine, unite and change that political system. You think that the NSA is content with spying? Come on, it’s cyberattacks galore being lined up as long at your government steam roller keeps running you over.

    Sad to see a country with such great principles be reduced to a morally bereft warism terrorist state. It’s a race beyond the bottom.

    I do have to say all this bickering has one good benefit, fighting amongst yourselves sure keeps the free world safe.

  12. “First, he called for the data to be housed somewhere other than within the government… the president would not specify where the data will be ultimately stored. He wants the Justice Department and the intelligence community to come up with a proposal within 60 days…”

    Who wants to bet that Google or Amazon is the recommended non-governmental depository? The ultimate boondoggle. Google gets paid to house all of this personal, sensitive information, and they would never sneak a peak at it in order to make money…no NEVER!

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