As the UK Guardian continues to release information on the NSA programs (such as Boundless Informant), Obama and his team attempt to deflect attention away, including say “hey, they’re just modest encroachments on privacy, liberty, your 4th Amendment rights”. DNI James Clapper whined about the “rush to publish“. And then there was the notion that all lawmakers were briefed regarding PRISM
(Politico) President Barack Obama’s chief defense of his administration’s wide-ranging data-gathering programs Friday: Congress authorized them, with “every member” well aware of the details.
Not so, say many members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans alike.
Typically, members of Congress “don’t receive this kind of briefing,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told POLITICO Friday. They wouldn’t have known about the programs unless they were on an intelligence committee, attended special sessions last held in 2011 or specifically asked to be briefed – something they would only know to do if they were clued in by an colleague who was already aware.)
Essentially, only certain members would get the briefings. Which, apparently, were mostly worthless
And Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) told POLITICO that the classified intelligence briefing sessions he’s attended haven’t disclosed details on the two data-gathering programs as were unveiled this week.
“I can assure you the phone number tracking of non-criminal, non-terrorist suspects was not discussed,” he said. “Most members have stopped going to their classified briefings because they rarely tell us anything we don’t already know in the news. It really has become a charade.”
The Most Transparent Administration Evah!!!! is anything but.
President Obama’s explanation allows him to sound a nothing-to-see-here note that paints the programs as both prosaic and innocuous. After all, if all 535 members of Congress knew about them, how bad could they really be?
“These are the folks you all vote for as your representatives in Congress, and they’re being fully briefed on these programs,” said Obama. “And if, in fact … there were abuses taking place, presumably those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They’re empowered to do so.”
That was nothing less than a typical Obama attempt to shift attention, and Blame, to Someone Else, in this case, Congress. And even those who knew about all, or some of it, couldn’t do anything, otherwise they would have been revealing secret programs in violation of the law, so a catch 22 in terms of passing legislation.
We The People are not happy about these intrusions on our privacy. When Bernie Sanders (D) and Rand Paul (R) sound the same, we have a problem. And Team Obama, along with some Republicans and Democrats, including elected ones, say the programs are lawful, We The People do not care. We want it stopped. And they can say it’s lawful all they want: the Constitution overrides laws.