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Barack Obama: Then And Now

In discussing his reasons for leaking details of America’s massive domestic spying initiative, whistleblower Edward Snowden recalled a moment in 2009 when he was stationed at a U.S. military base in Japan. That’s when Snowden told The (U.K.) Guardian how upset he became as he “watched (Barack) Obama advanced the very policies…

In discussing his reasons for leaking details of America’s massive domestic spying initiative, whistleblower Edward Snowden recalled a moment in 2009 when he was stationed at a U.S. military base in Japan. That’s when Snowden told The (U.K.) Guardian how upset he became as he “watched (Barack) Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”

Not only that, Snowden says over the next three years he watched as Obama’s administration attempted to make “every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.”

“Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector. Anywhere,” he said of the program, run by the National Security Agency (NSA).

So … what would have made Snowden think the Big Brotherism of George W. Bush’s administration would have subsided under Obama? Easy: That’s what then-candidate Obama promised.

Here’s what Obama, then a U.S. Senator from Illinois, said in 2007:

“(The Bush) administration also puts forth a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.

No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.

The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whim of stubborn rulers and that justice is not arbitrary.

(The Bush) administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no shortcuts to protecting America.”

Here’s the video of those remarks …

(Click to play)

Now, here’s what Obama the “leader of the free world” said last weekend:

“You know, when I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more than any commitment I make: number one, to keep the American people safe; and number two, uh, to uphold the Constitution. And that includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy and, uh, an observance of civil liberties.

Now, the programs that have been discussed over the last couple days in the press, uh, are secret in the sense that they’re classified, but they’re not secret in the sense that, uh, when it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.

Uh, with respect to all these programs, uh, the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed on these programs. These are programs that have been authorized by broad, bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006. And, so I think at the outset, it’s important to understand that your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we’re doing.

Now, let — let me take the, the two issues separately. When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program’s about. As was indicated, uh, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content. But by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism. If these folks, uh — if the intelligence community then actually wants to listen to a phone call, they’ve got to go back to a federal judge, just like they would in a criminal investigation. So I – I want to be very clear. Some of the, uh, hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so — nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls.

This program, by the way, is fully overseen not just by Congress but by the FISA Court, a court specially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch, or government generally, is not abusing them and that they’re — it’s being out consistent with the Constitution and rule of law.

And so not only does that court authorize the initial gathering of data, but I want to repeat, if anybody in government wanted to go further than just that top-line data and wanted to, for example, listen to Jackie Calmes’s phone call, they’d have to go back to a federal judge and,uh — and — and indicate why, in fact, uh, they were doing, uh, further — further probing.

Now, with respect to the Internet and emails, this does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States. And again, in this instance, not only is Congress fully apprised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA Court has to authorize it.

So in summary, what you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout. And we’re also setting up — we’ve also set up an audit process, uh, when I came into office to make sure that we’re, after the fact, uh, making absolutely certain that all the safeguards are being properly observed.

Um. Now, having said all that, you’ll remember when I made that speech, uh, a couple of weeks ago about the need for us to shift out of, um, a perpetual war mindset. I specifically said that one of the things that we’re going to have to discuss and debate is how were we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some trade-offs involved.

And I welcome this debate. And I think it’s healthy for our democracy. I think it’s a sign of maturity, because probably five years ago, six years ago, we might not have been having this debate. And I think it’s interesting that there are some folks on the left, but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren’t very, uh, worried about it when it was a Republican president. I think that’s good that we’re having this discussion.

But I think it’s important for everybody to understand, and I think the American people understand, that there are some trade-offs involved, you know. I came in with a health skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards. But my assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. And the modest, uh, encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking at content — uh, that on, you know, net, it was worth us doing.”

That’s — some other folks may have a different assessment of that. But I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. Um, you … you know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.

And all I can say is, is that in evaluating these programs, they make a difference in our ability to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity. And the fact that they’re under very strict supervision by all three branches of government and that they do not involve listening to people’s phone calls, do not involve reading the emails of U.S. citizens or U.S. residents, absent further action by a federal court, that is entirely consistent with what we would do, for example, in a criminal investigation.

I think, on balance, um, we — you know, we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about. But again, this — these programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then, um, they should speak up.

And we’re happy to have that debate.”

And here’s the video of those remarks …

(Click to play)

***

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38 comments

shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

Well, how about that! He talks and acts exactly like the little street punk explaining to the detective why he didn’t steal his mother’s money she was saving for her cataract operation.

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

Well, how about that! He talks and acts exactly like the little street punk explaining to the detective why he didn’t steal his mother’s money she was saving for her cataract operation.

Reply
Fox News Viewer June 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

Bottom line?

That damn Socialist Obama got in office and found out the Republicans were right!This War on Terror was real!ANYTHING to win the war must be done!I heard all this on Fox News for years?Except for Ron Paul and a few others,Republicans overwhelmingly supported this Patriot Act which provided the mechanism Obama used to do all this stuff.

Exactly what are you Republicans upset about?

Reply
Smirks June 10, 2013 at 10:06 am

Exactly what are you Republicans upset about?

The Republicans themselves? They’re upset that they aren’t the ones in charge.

The Republican voters? Well, only God knows.

Reply
Fox News Viewer June 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

Bottom line?

That damn Socialist Obama got in office and found out the Republicans were right!This War on Terror was real!ANYTHING to win the war must be done!I heard all this on Fox News for years?Except for Ron Paul and a few others,Republicans overwhelmingly supported this Patriot Act which provided the mechanism Obama used to do all this stuff.

Exactly what are you Republicans upset about?

Reply
Smirks June 10, 2013 at 10:06 am

Exactly what are you Republicans upset about?

The Republicans themselves? They’re upset that they aren’t the ones in charge.

The Republican voters? Well, only God knows.

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

I know what that dude behind him is thinking.

Reply
Smirks June 10, 2013 at 10:46 am Reply
Smirks June 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

The one thing he has right is that Congress knows about this shit. How could they not? They voted to extend the USA PATRIOT Act. Considering SCOTUS’ inaction on this shit, Congress has to be the one to strip these powers away.

Start by firing these assholes:

http://gauchnomica.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/patriot-act-vote-record/

Those in Columbia can get a two-for-one deal by ousting both Wilson and Graham, two big supporters of the military-industrial complex and big supporters of furthering the surveillance state.

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

I know what that dude behind him is thinking.

Reply
Smirks June 10, 2013 at 10:46 am Reply
Smirks June 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

The one thing he has right is that Congress knows about this shit. How could they not? They voted to extend the USA PATRIOT Act. Considering SCOTUS’ inaction on this shit, Congress has to be the one to strip these powers away.

Start by firing these assholes:

http://gauchnomica.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/patriot-act-vote-record/

Those in Columbia can get a two-for-one deal by ousting both Wilson and Graham, two big supporters of the military-industrial complex and big supporters of furthering the surveillance state.

Reply
jimlewisowb June 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

In another life I used to interact daily with individuals who spent their time stealing/lying/cheating, i.e. crooks/criminals

Most were apprehended and all were given the opportunity to tell their side of the story. When making statements one paid close attention to flow of their conversation

Did the words come out unsolicited. Was there continuity. How many pauses/hesitations/searching for a word. How many uhs, ums, you knows

All of the above were indicators whether the individual not only was telling the truth but believed what they were saying

After reading the transcript and listening to the video I would send the following message to POTUS:

Bubba, don’t know who in the hell you are trying to con but it ain’t fucking working

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

Jim: — You have it exactly correct ! The core of it is “All of the above were indicators whether the individual not only was telling the truth but believed what they were saying.”
The (potus) is still a phony, a fraud, a shill, and a sham.

Reply
jimlewisowb June 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

In another life I used to interact daily with individuals who spent their time stealing/lying/cheating, i.e. crooks/criminals

Most were apprehended and all were given the opportunity to tell their side of the story. When making statements one paid close attention to flow of their conversation

Did the words come out unsolicited. Was there continuity. How many pauses/hesitations/searching for a word. How many uhs, ums, you knows

All of the above were indicators whether the individual not only was telling the truth but believed what they were saying

After reading the transcript and listening to the video I would send the following message to POTUS:

Bubba, don’t know who in the hell you are trying to con but it ain’t fucking working

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

Jim: — You have it exactly correct ! The core of it is “All of the above were indicators whether the individual not only was telling the truth but believed what they were saying.”
The (potus) is still a phony, a fraud, a shill, and a sham.

Reply
Frank Pytel June 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

Damn. Good thing that cook Ron Paul didn’t get elected/selected to be the POTUS. What a fucking nut job.

BBBwwwhahahahahahahahahaha. You get what you pay for.

Reply
Jay Ellington June 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

Ron Paul is a cook?

Reply
Frank Pytel June 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

That you Henry?? Did you miss this? You’re supposed to catching this shit man.

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

Frank: I’m over here, and what is that guy in the back thinking? — “they told me his shit don’t stink! PHEW !! “

Reply
Frank Pytel June 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I got it the first time henry

Frank Pytel June 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

Damn. Good thing that Kook Ron Paul didn’t get elected/selected to be the POTUS. What a fucking nut job.

BBBwwwhahahahahahahahahaha. You get what you pay for.

Edit Kook? How do you spell nut job?? Oh Yeah “OSHITFORBRAINS!!”

Reply
The Ghost of Fat Greg Dulli June 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

Ron Paul is a cook?

Reply
Frank Pytel June 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

That you Henry?? Did you miss this? You’re supposed to catching this shit man.

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

Frank: I’m over here, and what is that guy in the back thinking? — “they told me his shit don’t stink! PHEW !! “

Reply
Frank Pytel June 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I got it the first time henry

Neocon June 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

I would butt fuck him :)

Reply
Neocon June 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

I would butt fuck him :)

Reply
Jay Ellington June 10, 2013 at 10:51 am

Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh…..

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

NEWS FLASH !!!!
GrandTango has arrived in DC for his two new jobs with (potus) — (1) as speechwriter [remember that he is a professional journalist], and (2) to train him each morning how to wipe his ass [of course, that’s only when (potus) isn’t constipated.

Reply
Jay Ellington June 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

Uh, uh, um, uh, uh, um…

Reply
The Ghost of Fat Greg Dulli June 10, 2013 at 10:51 am

Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh…..

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

NEWS FLASH !!!!
GrandTango has arrived in DC for his two new jobs with (potus) — (1) as speechwriter [remember that he is a professional journalist], and (2) to re-train him each morning how to wipe his ass [of course, that’s only when (potus) isn’t constipated.

Reply
The Ghost of Fat Greg Dulli June 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

Uh, uh, um, uh, uh, um…

Reply
The Dude June 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

Look at the picture. Anyone who believes that the democratic people of a super-power nation ELECTED that idiot is totally oblivious to the world around them. Scripted made for TV character acting at the highest level. Wag The Dog, man, wag the dog….

Reply
The Dude June 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

Look at the picture. Anyone who believes that the democratic people of a super-power nation ELECTED that idiot is totally oblivious to the world around them. Scripted made for TV character acting at the highest level. Wag The Dog, man, wag the dog….

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Folks, it’s been an interesting morning, but I gotta’ go for a while. I’m going out to mail (potus) his new Flash Cards. It’s taken me a little time to find some that are below 5th grade level (they are at Dollar General next to the roach sprays).

Reply
shifty henry June 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Folks, it’s been an interesting morning, but I gotta’ go out to mail (potus) his new Flash Cards. It’s taken me a little time to find some that are below 5th grade level (found them at Dollar General next to the insecticides).

Reply

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