Watch Top U.S. Intelligence Officials Repeatedly Deny NSA Spying On Americans Over The Last Year (Videos)
The start of President Obama’s second term has been a difficult one. To be sure, the conflict in Syria, debt ceiling battles with House Republicans and failures on gun control legislation have been major setbacks, but the rash of scandals that have come to light over the last few months have seriously challenged the administration’s credibility.
There is no doubt that the administration is in crisis. Recently, they have been found to be overreaching vis-à-vis the IRS, with journalists at the AP and James Rosen at Fox Fox News and now it has come to light that their most egregious overreaching has been with the American citizenry.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the American people to “calm down” yesterday when it came out that the NSA had made a blanket request for Verizon to hand over all records of telephone calls within its system – both within the US and between the US and other countries.
And while Reid’s feelings on the matter may be shared by other members of Congress like Senator Saxby Chambliss, there are many others who share the outrage the American people are feeling right now. Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner expressed his concern about the data collection.
He wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, “as the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely disturbed by what appears to be an overboard interpretation of the Act.”
And now it has come to light that the NSA has been directly tapping the servers of nine leading US internet companies, extracting video and audio chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets.
The NSA program, code-named PRISM, was launched during the Bush administration and has continued under Obama’s stewardship, much like the practice of taking Verizon’s phone records.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper condemned the leaks of the classified documents that revealed these practices, claiming that America’s security would be compromised by the disclosure.
Indeed, this disclosure does have the potential to reveal too much to our enemies about our practices, but it more importantly calls into question the practices of our own administration. And it has now become clear that those practices are not in step with promises the President made to Americans.
During the campaign and throughout the past four years, President Obama has told the American people that he would run the most transparent administration in history. From Benghazi to the IRS to the latest news on the NSA it is quite clear that Obama’s administration is failing to keep their word on this issue.
The result has been that Obama’s agenda is essentially dead in the water. His days, and his administration’s days, are now spent playing defense – in press conferences, in hearings and elsewhere.
What’s more, the appointments of Ambassador Susan Rice as his new national security advisor and Samantha Power to replace Susan Rice as UN Ambassador indicate that the administration is doubling down, not reaching out. At a time when the President should be doing all he can to reach across the aisle and to quell American’s fears that he is not the man he said he was, he is just plodding along business as usual.
The administration is surely in crisis. We all know it and it’s high time that the President not only recognized it, but also did something about it.