President Obama won America’s heart with a warm smile and wonderful slogans. He made wonderful references to Martin Luther King, and had entire crowds chanting the slogans of worker’s right’s groups, “Yes, we can!”
Candidate Obama criticized George Bush for sacrificing our personal privacy in the name of security. He promised he would grant unprecedented transparency to the inner workings of government. As you no doubt know by now, it has been discovered that the Obama administration has given the FBI and the NSA unparalleled access to do domestic spying. And it is now clear that President Obama has taken President Bush’s domestic spying programs to unprecedented levels. Not since Wilson has a president made such a U-turn between candidate and office holder.
Glenn Greenwald reported Wednesday in the Guardian:
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.
Andrew Leonard, of Alternet also laments:
The Obama administration has presided over the most thorough expansion of the domestic surveillance state of any U.S. presidency. Even as the nation was still absorbing the news, broken by Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian on Wednesday night, that the National Security Agency has been routinely collecting phone call records for millions of Americans, the Washington Post and the Guardian published articles revealing even broader government snooping powers: Since 2007, the NSA and the FBI have had the power to watch nearly every aspect of our online life as well.
What will be the President’s next step? Will he apologize for what happened and return to his pre-election promises of transparency in government? If the past is any indication, his focus will not be on correcting government abuses, but on finding out who leaked this information and punishing them severely. And until this nation starts voting for policies instead of personalities, and holding office holders accountable, we will replay this tragedy endlessly into the future.