Barack Obama said some shit today. Among the shit he said was this, in response to reports his administration is tracking every phone call made in America, while also directly tapping into the servers of Facebook and Google:
“I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs,” Obama said. “My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards.”
The president says he was skeptical of this power until, friends, you have to hear this funny story: the power became his. And what head of state wants to be less powerful than their predecessor? Also there was scrubbing and safeguarding involved (we can’t really get into details).
But Obama won’t be a head of state forever, he reminded the press, actually saying this out loud in front of people who didn’t snicker:
“With respect to my concerns about privacy issues: I will leave this office at some point—sometime in the next three and a half years—and after that I’ll be a private citizen,” he said. “And I suspect that on a list of people who might be targeted so that somebody could read their emails or listen to their phone calls, I’d probably be pretty high on that list. So it’s not as though I don’t have a a personal interest in making sure my privacy is protected.”
If you honestly believe the world’s most powerful man is honestly concerned he will be subject to the same sort of scrutiny as other private citizens — and, more importantly, that he fears facing the same consequences (what, is he going to be Jose Padilla’d?) — you should immediately transfer power of attorney to a trusted love one. Once he leaves office, Obama will be making millions of dollars a year giving speeches at stockholder meetings. Maybe a spook or two will glance at his email now and again, but that won’t be because of any program he established; they’d do that anyway. And legally speaking, he’ll face the same consequences as George W. Bush.
When presidents and former presidents do it, that means it’s not illegal.
Also, this. Obama said this:
“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”
Barack Obama already claims the right to unilaterally kill all sorts of people endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them I recall being “life.” We have some problems here.