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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

In an appearance on Leno, Pres. Obama just plain lies

Pres. Obama
The Hill: President Obama on Tuesday defended the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs in a wide-ranging interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” arguing that the agency doesn’t target U.S. civilians.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” Obama said, according to the media pool report. “What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack. … That information is useful.”

Obama called the surveillance programs “a critical component to counterterrorism,” but acknowledged that they’ve “raised a lot of questions for people.”
If “We don’t have a domestic spying program,” then explain the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court. The FISA court issues warrants for monitoring messages between targets abroad and targets within the United States. If that’s not spying on Americans, then what is? Likewise, the PRISM program that Snowden revealed also monitors information leaving the US for foreign targets and vice versa.

You may not want to call those “domestic spy programs” because you think the term comes loaded with bad PR. But there’s a fine line between lying and spin and suggesting that these programs don’t exist at all is crossing it. When you say the agency doesn’t target Americans, people don’t hear “we target foreign terror suspects talking to Americans,” they hear “we don’t listen to Americans” — which is completely untrue.

Give the people the truth and let them sort it out on their own. They may not come to the conclusion you want them to, but that’s part of what it means to be a free people.

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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