Obama’s Response to Libertarian Whining About the NSA
President Obama last Friday gave a speech wherein he outlined changes to the NSA telephony metadata program. The changes come about in large part thanks to Libertarians whining about “Big Brother” possibly trampling American citizens’ privacy. Libertarians apparently live in an alternate universe where theoretical threats to Constitutional concepts are of greater import then the real world threat of getting killed by Islamic Jihadists (see Fort Hood, Boston Marathon, et al).
The database, retaining information about millions of calls, is made available to only 22 NSA employees, who gain access only upon authorization from their superiors. It has been opened about 300 times in a year, there is no evidence it has been abused, and the president believes “it is important that the capability that this program is designed to meet is preserved.”
The president wants the database transferred to a private entity. Why? Because even though the database has not been abused—and notwithstanding the safeguards that surround it and the absence of motive in anyone with access to do anything but guard against a threat to national security—there exists the abstract possibility that the information could be used to draw a detailed profile of a person by mapping all the phone calls that the person has made or received.
Many people whose job it is to decide how aggressively we will fight our enemies watched President Obama’s speech from the Justice Department and got the message… that when it comes to intelligence-gathering, the president would rather protect us from hypothetical abuses than from present dangers. That could be the most lasting effect of all. Block quote excerpted from Michael B. Mukasey “The President’s NSA Illusions” Wall Street Journal 1/21/14
One would hope that president Obama, despite all his ideological flaws, might have the minimal common sense to recognize when silly Libertarian rhetoric threatens National Security. We should have faith that Government is doing all it can to legally protect us against Islamic Jihad. Thanks to Libertarians, every American citizen is in greater danger. – Grizzly Joe