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Tag Archives: NSA Scandal


Obama’s Year In Review

ISIS, Ferguson, the Senate, Ukraine, Ebola, border kids. Really, this was a pretty awful sixth year for the president. Not that he’s acting like it.

by James Oliphant     •     National Journal

Smug-ObamaYou can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress rebuffed him on Syria and the federal health care exchange imploded.

Those setbacks ate away at Obama’s public support. According to Gallup, the president began 2014 with a 41 percent approval rating, and he’s ending it a tick or two higher. He’s also ending the year as a certified lame duck, facing two final years with a hostile Congress and the political conversation centering around the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul. Continue reading


Making Harding Look Good

The Obama administration has tarnished nearly every major federal agency. 

by Victor Davis Hanson    •    National Review

Scandal NewsMany have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.

The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.

The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison. Continue reading


What Obama’s Many Messes Really Mean

Dems blame . . . big government?

bureaucracy_big governmentby S.E. Cupp

Another week, another scandal.

From Fast and Furious at the ATF to the Pigford fraud at the Department of Agriculture, the IRS’ political targeting to the State Department’s Benghazi mess, the healthcare.gov debacle at HHS to spying at the NSA and the DOJ, President Obama is running out of agencies and departments to defend in his two years left in office.

This White House has either had the worst luck in recent memory or it is responsible for breaches of public trust so vast, it’s no wonder public faith in our government is at a record low.

And now, we must add the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs — one so singularly sad, offensive and disappointing it almost feels wrong to put the callous deaths of at least 40 veterans who served our country in the same category as political tax targeting. Still, in some ways it is more of the pitiful same. Continue reading


Record High Say Big Government Greatest Threat

IRS Scandal Dog

BIG GOVERNMENT

Now 72% say it is greater threat than big business or big labor

Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question. The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time. Continue reading


Reining in the abuses of the NSA

NSA Spy Scandal 10Speaking in Baltimore last week, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander defended the methods his agency uses to spy on the private phone calls and emails of millions of American citizens, but he did appear to give a little ground to critics of the agency when he said he’s “not wedded” to every surveillance program it carries out. “If we can come up with a better way of doing them, we should,” he insisted.

That formulation left unclear the meaning of the word “better,” however. Does it mean the agency would no longer have to violate the privacy of Americans in order to guard the country against terrorist threats? Or does it mean the agency could simply collect the massive amounts of information it now snatches out of the ether more efficiently? Continue reading


What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy

Privacy RightsA civil libertarian reflects on the dangers of the surveillance state.

by Peggy Noonan

What is privacy? Why should we want to hold onto it? Why is it important, necessary, precious?

Is it just some prissy relic of the pretechnological past?

We talk about this now because of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency revelations, and new fears that we are operating, all of us, within what has become or is becoming a massive surveillance state. They log your calls here, they can listen in, they can read your emails. They keep the data in mammoth machines that contain a huge collection of information about you and yours. This of course is in pursuit of a laudable goal, security in the age of terror.

Is it excessive? It certainly appears to be. Does that matter? Yes. Among other reasons: The end of the expectation that citizens’ communications are and will remain private will probably change us as a people, and a country. Continue reading


The Debate Obama Never Wanted

Governmnet SpyingIn the NSA math, two additions plus one abuse equals a defensive president.

by Major Garrett

Edward Snowden has put words in President Obama’s mouth. Words like transparency, reform, openness, and debate.

This is not necessarily cause for celebration or condemnation. It is, however, a fact. That the White House refuses to acknowledge this is testament to the policy-altering effect of Snowden’s leaks of classified documents about the National Security Agency’s wide-ranging Internet and phone surveillance programs.

In the East Room on Friday, Obama said he always wanted what he is now awkwardly juggling—a national debate on counterterrorism surveillance. This is demonstrably false. Obama did not want this debate, and he has been forced into numerous linguistic contortions in avoiding it. He did not want a debate that forced him to embrace a review panel to examine his administration’s countersurveillance practices and to call for a privacy and civil-liberties advocate before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that approves surveillance warrants. On Friday, Obama sought to limit the ferocity of the debate by asserting his role as calm, constitutional arbiter of executive power and reform. “I believe that there are steps we can take to give the American people additional confidence that there are additional safeguards against abuse,” he said. Continue reading


NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times every year

Government Spyingby Barton Gellman

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls. Continue reading


Obama’s Strikingly Nixonian Scandals

Obama as NixonDenial, evasion, “Let me be perfectly clear” — is this 2013 or 1973?

by Victor Davis Hanson

The truth about Benghazi, the Associated Press/James Rosen monitoring, the IRS corruption, the NSA octopus, and Fast and Furious is still not exactly known. Almost a year after the attacks on our Benghazi facilities, we are only now learning details of CIA gun-running, military stand-down orders, aliases of those involved who are still hard to locate, massaged talking points, and the weird jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

We still do not quite know why Eric Holder’s Justice Department went after the Associated Press or Fox News’s James Rosen — given that members of the administration were themselves illegally leaking classified information about the Stuxnet virus, the Yemeni double agent, the drone program, and the bin Laden document trove, apparently to further the narrative of an underappreciated Pattonesque commander-in-chief up for reelection.

Almost everything the administration has assured us about the IRS scandal has proven false: It was not confined to rogue Cincinnati agents; liberal and conservative groups were not equally targeted; and there were political appointees who were involved in or knew of the misdeeds. Continue reading


Scandals that once angered and concerned the President are now phony?

Media BiasThis week, President Barack Obama changed his tune on the numerous scandals besetting his administration. Speaking in Illinois, Obama said, “With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.”

But when each of the current scandals broke, Obama acted concerned, said that his administration get find out what happened, and that he would make sure they were not repeated. Now suddenly these same scandals are phony? What happened? Continue reading


Media Cut Obama Slack They Denied Bush on NSA

by Richard Benedettomedia_bias

In recent days, there has been discussion about how Democrats and liberals, once severe critics of anti-terror surveillance programs when Republican President George W. Bush was conducting them, have been more careful, and less critical, when responding to the massive data collection sweeps that have come to light under President Obama.

“It is jarring to see the left so compliant now that the surveillance has been sanctioned by a Democratic president,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote Sunday.

Milbank raised a valid point. But perhaps even more “jarring” are the carefully chosen, softer words used by the news media when reporting on the Obama program, compared to the inflammatory and alarmist language used when his predecessor was in charge. Continue reading