With the recent wave of snooping ‘scandals’ rocking the Obama Administration, even the New York Times is jumping ship with a ‘scathing’ editorial saying, “the administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.” Oh, wait, they quietly walked back the “lost all credibility” phrase and replaced it with “the administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.” No surprise there, but it contains no appending indication as to why it was changed.
…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.
Essentially, the administration is saying that without any individual suspicion of wrongdoing, the government is allowed to know whom Americans are calling every time they make a phone call, for how long they talk and from where.
This sort of tracking can reveal a lot of personal and intimate information about an individual. To casually permit this surveillance — with the American public having no idea that the executive branch is now exercising this power — fundamentally shifts power between the individual and the state, and it repudiates constitutional principles governing search, seizure and privacy.