On Friday, the President Treated Us Like 5-Year-Olds

This is ancient news by blog standards, but I still feel the need to comment on President Obama’s singularly disingenuous remarks on Friday about Edward Snowden and the surveillance state. The fact that Obama doesn’t consider Snowden a patriot comes as no surprise. Presidents don’t generally approve of people who release large volumes of national secrets. But this was really too much:
Back in May…I called for a review of our surveillance programs….My preference — and I think the American people’s preference — would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws, a thoughtful fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place. Because I never made claims that all the surveillance technologies that have developed since the time some of these laws had been put in place somehow didn’t require potentially some additional reforms. That’s exactly what I called for.
….There’s no doubt that Mr. Snowden’s leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response than would have been the case if I had simply appointed this review board to go through, and I had sat down with Congress and we had worked this thing through. It would have been less exciting. It would not have generated as much press. I actually think we would have gotten to the same place, and we would have done so without putting at risk our national security and some very vital ways that we are able to get intelligence that we need to secure the country.
Please. Only a five-year-old would read that May speech and believe that Obama had any intention of either releasing significant information about our surveillance state or proposing any kind of serious reforms. That speech was mostly about drones—because, tellingly, Obama had been forced into it by recent news stories. In a 7,000-word speech, he devoted approximately three sentences to surveillance. It was little more than an afterthought, and his only concrete proposal, after four years in office, was a laughably buck-passing decision to set up a commission and then hope everyone would forget about the whole thing. Roger McShane called Obama’s Friday press conference “surreal, in a Kafkaesque sort of way,” but it was worse than that. It was a president treating us all like idiots. Does anyone seriously believe that even the very moderate reforms Obama has proposed so far would have seen the light of day if he hadn’t been forced into it?
via On Friday, the President Treated Us Like 5-Year-Olds

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