Today’s “explosive” news is that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans. Glenn Greenwald, writing at The Guardian, reports:
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
And there are tons of reactions around the blogosphere.
But here is what really has me pissed today. This practice has been going on for YEARS! It started under Bush and was continued under Obama. Does that make it right? Hell no! But so many people want to twist things around. For example, here is Hot Air:
Update: The other obligatory flashback to USA Today‘s reporting on what was presumably the same program, under the Bush administration, in 2006. This is separate from the warrantless wiretapping story, which got much more press. Greenwald’s court order is the first documentation of the practice continuing under Obama, despite the fact he was elected on promises to do pretty much the opposite:
Got that? It’s different, because a different President is doing it. Oh, but Obama promised to stop it. God damn, a politician broke an election promise! That is a historic event!!!
But was it a “broken promise”? Here’s what Obama said in 2008:
I do so with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.
No where did Obama say he would stop the practice. Instead, he said he would do a “comprehensive review”. Now I’m not sure if that has happened or not, but that doesn’t matter. Republicans are twisting things around to say that he would stop it, when in fact he said he would “review it”.
And many others are trying to act like this is something that never happened before Obama. Liars, every single one of them. Even one of the extreme right wingers in the U.S. Senate has admitted it has gone on for years. Here’s Saxby Chambliss (R-GA):
This is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the FISA authority, and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.
Seven years. Now let me pull out a big calculator here and figure out this complex math. 2013 – 7 = 2006! Who was President in 2006? That’s right, Bush! But of course that means I’m just blaming Bush, because I have stated a FACT! Yeah facts, those stubborn things (to quote Ronald Reagan).
Look, I hate the government doing this as much today as I did in 2006. As matter of fact, I hate it so much that I won’t sit there and lie to put a political spin on it. If you are truly as outraged over this as I am, then you don’t need lies. The facts speak for themselves. All we can hope is that it brings enough pressure to change things. Luckily enough Republicans in Congress hate Obama that they will go against it, just to go against him. There are also many Democrats that hate this practice as much today as they did seven years ago. So we do have a catalyst for change, we just need to push for it.