Snowden initiates review of U.S. surveillance operations — Obama takes credit

“I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks,” President Obama claimed today in a press conference at the White House.

Oh really? Was this in a classified memo? Was it going to be a secret review whose findings would never be made public?

And if Obama was already working on this issue, how come it wasn’t until after the first leaks that for the very first time he sat down with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board?

If this board now has an essential role in the review Obama has just proposed, there is no evidence whatsoever that he attached much significance to the board’s operations prior to the leaks. As Government Executive reported this week:

The little-known Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, created in 2007 on a 9/11 Commission recommendation, was limping along for years with no appointees or staff leadership. All that changed with this summer’s revelations of domestic surveillance of Americans’ telephone activity by the National Security Agency.

The board — an independent agency that consists of four part-time members and a full-time chair who advise the president and Congress on the balance between security and privacy — this month will finally welcome its first executive director, attorney Sharon Bradford Franklin. That’s after it took more than two years for President Obama to nominate and for the Senate to approve the board members — Chairman David Medine was just confirmed in May.

Board members were not briefed on the NSA’s surveillance operations until June 19, two weeks after the first leaks had been published by The Guardian.

Obama now claims that the new review could have proceeded in a more orderly fashion in the absence of the media attention that has been generated, thanks to the leaks.

As far as this president is concerned, that government which governs best is the one whose operations we know least about and care even less about.

(The following clip from Obama’s news conference is preceded by a 30-second commercial.)

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5 thoughts on “Snowden initiates review of U.S. surveillance operations — Obama takes credit

  1. La vérité

    I am really sorry to say, he is becoming a “habitual liar”……. what a let down from January 2009!!

  2. hquain

    Here again we see the unbelievably horrible political instincts of Team Obama, pure tone-deafness. His querulous, dubious claim of priority — over the “29 year old hacker” — merely emphasizes and re-enacts his reactive, secondary status. TO — perhaps TKO would be better — has no clue about how to grab an initiative. They’re like a tin can tied to the tail of mad dog.

    The peak achievement along these lines was surely his unthought-out blurt “I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot.” This dismal remark only serves to remind everyone that Snowden’s only conceivable motives were patriotic ones, that his actions have had immense impact on the discourse, and that motiveless, unprincipled Obama is just animating the suit of The American President.

  3. Norman

    Have to give someone credit, the “O” keeps the illusion of being a second rate tool, alive. What a disgrace he’s making of the Presidential image, both here at home and in the World arena. The most powerful man in the world[?[, is nothing more than a Johnny come lately, or a trained Parrot might be a better description.

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