Eugene Robinson writes: President Obama’s message about the government’s massive electronic surveillance programs came through loud and clear: Get over it.
The president used more soothing words in his pre-vacation news conference Friday, but that was the gist. With perhaps the application of a fig leaf here and a sheen of legalistic mumbo jumbo there, the snooping will continue.
Unless, of course, we demand that it end.
The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our e-mails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done — but not whether.
“It’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them as well,” Obama said. But if this is truly what he believes, he should have kicked off this confidence-building debate years ago, long before former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden blew the whistle.
Snowden’s disclosures do look increasingly like whistle-blowing, by the way, rather than espionage or treason. If administration officials really welcome the discussion we are now having, shouldn’t they thank Snowden rather than label him an enemy of the state? [Continue reading…]