Promised fixes will likely just be “an illusion”
January 16, 2014
Senator Rand Paul, a staunch critic of the NSA’s mass data collection program, has urged that president Obama’s assurances that he will oversee changes in the spy agency’s practices is akin to a “fox guarding the henhouse.”
Demanding that Congress “step up”, along with the Supreme Court, Paul noted “I don’t think you can expect the fox to guard the henhouse. You can’t expect the fox to oversee the henhouse.”
During the appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Paul also warned that in light of previous statements, any “fix” promoted by the president is likely to be just an “illusion”.
“We can’t allow the White House to be the one in charge of overseeing the White House,” he said. “They say collecting all your records is not spying. It is spying.”
In a nod to independent analysis reports this week that indicate NSA spying has absolutely no impact on preventing terrorism, Paul said “I don’t think there is one terrorist that has been stopped by any of this data. It is extraordinarily expensive. And, it’s extraordinarily intrusive into American lives.”
The Senator also argued that it is ludicrous to believe that any real terrorists are unaware that US spy agencies can monitor phones calls.
Paul added that the government “shouldn’t issue a single warrant and get the records of millions of Americans.”
“It is not constitutional, and it has to stop.” Paul declared.
The New York Times today issued a piece that charts Obama’s shift from being a critic of mass government spying, to being an “overseer” of the practice.
Whilst running for president, Obama promised that there would be “no more illegal wiretapping ofAmerican citizens,” adding that there would be “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.” under his presidency.
“More than six years later, the onetime constitutional lawyer is now the commander in chief presiding over a surveillance state that some of his own advisers think has once again gotten out of control.” the Times report states.
Obama is expected to announce new guidelines for the NSA’s data collection on Friday.
Noting that many are skeptical that the president will create meaningful limits to the NSA’s practices, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has “compiled a list of common-sense fixes that the President could—and should—announce.”
The checklist includes calls to halt mass surveillance of communication records, stop mandatingcommunications companies to retain data, reform the overly secretive FISA court, and protect whistleblowers.
“We’ll be scoring Obama’s presentation on Friday and we’ll let you know which, if any, of these reforms he supports.” EFF notes. “You can help us pressure Obama in the coming days by tweeting these reforms at him.” the watchdog group adds.
It is reported that Rand Paul, meanwhile, has raised $2.2 million in grassroots funds, that could be used for a potential presidential run in 2016 that would surely maximise the Senator’s popular opposition to the surveillance state.