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Dem Senator: ‘Clearly the Administration Has Not Followed the Law’

Privacy stalwarts peel away from White House on the left while on the right Rand Paul sees his signature issue ascend.

by
Bridget Johnson

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June 7, 2013 - 6:25 pm
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As this week drew to a close, the scandal trifecta of Benghazi, IRS targeting and snooping on journalists seemed so five days ago.

The late-week revelation that the National Security Agency accessed the Verizon phone records of millions of Americans snowballed within a day as more phone companies were included and operation PRISM, which involved agreements with nine Internet companies to monitor email and web activity, put the Obama administration on the defense.

The main White House defense is that phone records did not include snooping on the content of the calls, that email and web habits of U.S. citizens weren’t monitored, and that all activities started in some form during the George W. Bush years.

But if Democrats stuck by the administration’s side on Benghazi, peeled away just enough for public effect on the IRS, and were visibly irritated by threats to freedom of the press, it didn’t help Obama that his director of national intelligence told a Democratic senator under oath in March that the NSA wasn’t spying on Americans — “wittingly.”

Today, that senator, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who had previously joined Wyden in questioning the administration on how seriously it took privacy protections, said in a joint statement they “respectfully but firmly disagree with the way that this program has been described by senior administration officials.”

“After years of review, we believe statements that this very broad Patriot Act collection has been ‘a critical tool in protecting the nation’ do not appear to hold up under close scrutiny. We remain unconvinced that the secret Patriot Act collection has actually provided any uniquely valuable intelligence,” said the Democrats, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “As far as we can see, all of the useful information that it has provided appears to have also been available through other collection methods that do not violate the privacy of law-abiding Americans in the way that the Patriot Act collection does. We hope that President Obama will probe the basis for these assertions, as we have.”

“We also disagree with the statement that the broad Patriot Act collection strikes the ‘right balance’ between protecting American security and protecting Americans’ privacy. In our view it does not. When Americans call their friends and family, whom they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information. We believe the large-scale collection of this information by the government has a very significant impact on Americans’ privacy, whether senior government officials recognize that fact or not,” Wyden and Udall added.

In a speech he’d hoped would be about lauding the progress of ObamaCare implementation today, Obama had to shift gears to the latest scandal and told reporters “it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”

“So I want to be very clear: Some of the hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so, nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls,” the president added.

Wyden and Udall said they “have long been concerned about the degree to which this collection has relied on ‘secret law.’”

“Senior administration officials have stated on multiple occasions that the Patriot Act’s ‘business records’ authority is ‘analogous to a grand jury subpoena.’ And multiple senior officials have stated that US intelligence agencies do not collect information or dossiers on ‘millions of Americans,’” they said.

“Now that the fact of bulk collection has been declassified, we believe that more information about the scale of the collection, and specifically whether it involves the records of ‘millions of Americans,’ should be declassified as well.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a fervent privacy advocate who could get the biggest 2016 cred out of this scandal, today introduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013, which states “the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States Government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.”

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Most haven't a clue as to the scope of the illegality and the invasion to their privacy. Its essence is mind boggling and manifestly totalitarian in scope - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/06/08/the-potuss-enemies-list-stalwart-patriots-snagged-by-nsadhsirsdoj-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

More and more resembling of a police state. The embedded video clip will blow your socks off!

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"“I think this is not really something you can blame the Obama administration for because I think any executive branch is going to operate at the extent of the law,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said on CNN."
-------------------------------------------------------------

No! - not all presidents are going to operate at the extreme edges of the law and most would make damned sure they remain safely inside the law.

This administration seems to feel like there are no limits on them - just as long as they don't get caught. One need look no further than the IRS scandal to see just how far they will go. The old democrat creed 'the ends justify the means' is how they operate. It is after all the 'Chicago way'.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama – Get off my phone!
You sick creepy fascist pervert!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
“But we have to strike the balance better and I think it is Congress’ duty.”

No. It. Is. Not.

'This shall not pass!'
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"No 100 percent privacy, no 100 percent security. Obviously that’s right."

Bull****! There is nothing obvious about it, and nothing right about it.

Am I a suspect in some crime? No? Then why do you track my calls? If the police wanted to do it, they would first have to gather evidence some other way, then get a judge to okay the gathering of my phone call records.

Okay, it's just a computer sorting through it, right? Impersonal. However, what happens to the info? How long do they keep it?. Who has access to that info without any warrant? Surely someone has the ability to just look, because that person is the gatekeeper, right? How do they prevent that power from being abused in the same fashion the IRS abused its power?

We have this problem, because the Left has made common cause with Islam. If they were to do this data-mining to just Muslims, because they really are all suspect, I would be fine with that, but to do it to everyone, because you do not wish to target Muslims, that is not right.

This is just like the TSA. Rather than target Muslims, they grope granny and undress the hotties. They screen everyone but the Muzzies!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are a suspect and with the immense amount of laws on the books today, you are certainly guilty of doing something illegal. They just have to figure out what it is and they do that by tracking your "mega" I mean meta data.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“Recall the president campaigned saying that we can — he attacked Bush for his policies. Said we can absolutely balance privacy and security. It can be done in a targeted way,” Merkley said on MSNBC today. “And what we have is very untargeted.”
------------------------

Yes, there's Obama's political problem. When he got sworn in and the hair on the back of his neck stood up as he was shown the severity of the threats and the number of attacks that have been prevented as a result of these data collections, he should have manned up immediately and told the nation that he was breaking his rash, ignorant, and irresponsible campaign promise to end Bush's surveillance programs.

But instead he pretended to be the savior, the anti-Bush.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The main Obama defense is that all this stuff started during the Bush years...and, therefore, what ?!?

...therefore, if Woodrow Obama does it, all is normalized ?
...therefore, if it continues under a Democrat regime, it's aims become purified?
...therefore, if it gets expanded during years when the White House, Senate and House were a single, arrogant, triumphalist faction it becomes invisible to the press, to peaceniks, to the ACLU, etc ad nauseum ??

Bush got the boot - why didn't you Woodrow? Maybe history will tell...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe he did get the boot. Documented voter fraud coupled with suppression of Romney donors and grass root Republicans put the results of the 2012 election in question. I can't understand why more people aren't outraged at the possibility that O really didn't win the election at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All roads lead to the White House where the Unqualified USURPER sits and in an 'Hitlerian Way', so common to all Extreme Left Wingers, creates the atmosphere of distrust and hate that his willing acolytes act on. All along giving him ,of course, plausible deniability.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is nothing new under the sun. As a result of a post WW2 agreement between the USA and the UK where nuclear secrets were released to UK in return for Jet engine technology and the UK's co-operation in the monitoring of the telephone traffic between Europe and the USA. At that time ,1945, ALL International calls between Europe and the USA had to go via undersea cables which ran from UK to the USA. Britains GCHQ monitored ALL these phone lines with machines programmed to pick out key words or phrases. When such criteria were hit the entire conversation was RECORDED and reviewed and the information was passed to the USA. It is no small leap of imagination to realise that as technology improved such monitoring of International calls have improved and become more intrusive with it. So it should not surprise anyone , it doesn't surprise me, to have the revelation that the US Govt is SPYING on ALL telephone and Internet users. Its what they do. No doubt the SPOOKS will now target ME.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hold more hearings!!! Pass fewer laws!!!

This is an opportunity to grind this mother to a halt and just stop these idiots from meddling. We are so much better served as citizens to spend time on full time hearings on each and every one of these outrages than to have these know-nothing's micromanaging our lives.

We send them to Washington to govern...that's not measured by the number of laws passed per month. How about simply operating within the confines of the Constitution for starters and then make sure every effing law you pass applies to you Congressmen too??
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most haven't a clue as to the scope of the illegality and the invasion to their privacy. Its essence is mind boggling and manifestly totalitarian in scope - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/06/08/the-potuss-enemies-list-stalwart-patriots-snagged-by-nsadhsirsdoj-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

More and more resembling of a police state. The embedded video clip will blow your socks off!

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow, three Democratic senators openly disagreed with Obama. It's a start...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"“I think this is not really something you can blame the Obama administration for because I think any executive branch is going to operate at the extent of the law,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said on CNN."
-------------------------------------------------------------

No! - not all presidents are going to operate at the extreme edges of the law and most would make damned sure they remain safely inside the law.

This administration seems to feel like there are no limits on them - just as long as they don't get caught. One need look no further than the IRS scandal to see just how far they will go. The old democrat creed 'the ends justify the means' is how they operate. It is after all the 'Chicago way'.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I couldn't disagree more.

Lord Acton's famous observation is still valid a century later:

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You can't turn intelligence gathering and domestic surveillance on and off like a light bulb depending on whether the President is someone you voted for or not.

We conservatives attacked Obama for claiming that the War on Terror is over; we said eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Well, "eternal vigilance" means just that: You can't switch it off just because you didn't vote for this President.

Nor should you suddenly feel secure and happy just because a Republican President wins the White House. We learned that the hard way with Nixon.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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