by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Paul Brandus of The Week picks up the theme that some of President Obama’s policies place him in the company of a less than savory predecessor. In this case, the topic is national security.
[T]he big questions going forward aren’t about Edward Snowden. The real NSA issues are about Obama, his ideas on surveillance, transparency, and the never-ending quest to balance security and privacy.
The president acknowledged the “instinctive bias of the intelligence community to keep everything very close.” But Obama wasn’t just describing the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, or any of America’s other 14 intelligence agencies. He was describing himself, too. This wartime president is clearly biased in favor of secrecy and deplores leaks. His administration prosecutes offenders with a single-minded victory-at-all-cost zealotry that would make Richard Nixon proud [Emphasis added].
Obama says he wants greater challenges to the government’s positions in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) cases. This seems to suggest that prior cases haven’t been as judicious as they could be. But this is just speculation, since FISC proceedings, which have always been held in secret, will continue to be held in secret. When the review of an entire national security case is held behind closed doors, how is the public to know whether government requests for added surveillance are being properly challenged? Perhaps we’re supposed to take the government’s word for it…
I’m sure this assessment comes as no surprise to Roy Cordato.