June 7, 2013

UPDATED: The Prism of a police state

It's not a prism like this.
Wow. This is not the America I thought I knew.  I bet you feel the same way if you've heard of the Prism project.  If you haven't, then you need to know about it.  Scandal number four for the Obama administration in the spring of 2013 may end up dwarfing the other three scandals.  It was recently revealed that the government had accessed Verizon's customer records. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Prism has that eerie Nazi Germany police state feel to it.

Prism is detailed via Great Britain's The Guardian (providing the news that the American liberal media has refused to do with this president),
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

In a statement, Google said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."
The liberal media didn't ever do it's job with this president.  But now that the cat is out of the bag and they have egg on their faces, they have to say something.  When you get the New York Times saying this about president Obama you know you've got a real issue that isn't going to go away.
Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.

The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.
This comes on the heels of the the Justice Department thinking of journalists as the enemy and going after a Fox News reporter and the Associated Press.  It's ugly. And yet some in the media will still forgive this president.  That's another angle worth following as this thing unfolds.

It's possible that the press feels free to bash Obama now that he has won a second term and cannot be re-elected.  It doesn't hurt Hillary Clinton, whom many or most probably regard as the next president

Blaming Bush

It does not matter one bit whether this was started under president Bush and continued or even expanded under president Obama, it is wrong.  This president can no more blame Bush for PRISM this far into his tenure than David Letterman can blame Johnny Carson for low ratings in 2013.

It is the Obama administration, the one that was supposed to be the most transparent ever, that has carried out this Big Brother nightmare for the last four plus years.  If the president was honest about the transparency he promised none of these scandals he's facing would have surfaced.  Make no mistake, he owns this.

Focused here instead of the Arab Spring?

The ironic thing here is with all this focus on domestic terror, they completely missed Benghazi before, during and after the incident.  To say the focus was in the wrong direction is an understatement. Remember this?


She never backed down from this 2009 statement, and yet they never prevented the Boston Marathon bombers and only caught some of the other attempted domestic terrorism efforts because of the public's awareness.

Their focus seems like it has always been on these supposed right wing extremists.  There is a jihad going on and it is against conservatives.  What ties all of these scandals together?
  1. They didn't have a clue of how to handle Benghazi.
  2. They hedged endlessly on Libya.
  3. They got it wrong on Iran and Syria.

YET,
  1. They believe that domestic terrorism is fundamentally a right wing issue
  2. They are using the IRS to harass and intimidate conservative groups
  3. They are spying on journalists and the media and viewing them as the enemy.
  4. They are spying on Americans. 
It sure seems to add up to an enemies list that is focused on the wrong targets - Americans and not radical Islamic jihadists.

More importantly, is this the liberty that you were promised in America?  The debate over whether the government should prioritize anti-terrorism over liberty never really happened.  We know this because all of these things were happening covertly.  Whatever debate happened in public never really mattered.  When you look at the situation through that prism, liberty seems more illusory than real.

UPDATE: Newt Gingrich was on Hannity last night making the same point about the government collecting all this data and not finding the Boston Marathon bombers. He seemed to argue that they are ineffective.  I would argue that they are ineffective because they are focusing in the wrong direction - domestic instead of overseas, and domestic conservative groups instead of domestic Islamic jihadists.
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