Obama’s NSA Reforms Legitimize Snowden

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Edward Snowden famously noted that his greatest fear regarding his revelations is that “nothing will change.”

But on March 24, almost a year after Snowden’s first interview, President Obama spoke about proposing legislation to Congress which would end the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records. Although appearing progressive on its face, the politics at play behind Obama’s NSA reforms deserve further investigation.

First, Snowden has indefinitely shifted the political discourse regarding national security. Obama now advocating to reform the NSA program — which he vehemently defended over the past year — is an indication to the legitimacy behind Snowden’s acts.

Norman Solomon, co-founder of the progressive advocacy group RootsAction.org, mentioned that the credibility of the White House has gone through the floor, while the credibility of Snowden continues to ascend.

A January poll by USA Today reflects this sentiment as it found that 70 percent of Americans believe that they should not have to give up privacy and freedom for protection against terrorism. This highlights an ideological shift toward Snowden since his original revelations in June 2013.

However, a politically conscious Obama administration recognizes the political capital it could gain from endorsing these reforms. Plus, in the event that Congress blocks the legislation, Obama can put the blame on them.

Guantanamo Bay is a prime example of Obama playing politics with a controversial U.S. national security program. Obama constantly promised to terminate Guantanamo Bay, but his promises failed to permeate. Congress continuously blocks legislation that would make closing Guantanamo faster and easier which allows Obama to pass the blame onto them.

It’s worth questioning the veracity of the proposed reforms because they only address phone metadata — they exempt other popular forms of communication like email, Skype, texts, and GPS. The reforms also fail to mention sharing information among foreign governments and spy agencies, such as the Five Eyes.

Five Eyes is an alliance among spy agencies from the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and has been known to spy on citizens from each nation involved to circumvent domestic laws.

Without taking steps to reform the legality of governments gaining information on their citizens from foreign governments, implementing domestic laws would do anything about ongoing security concerns.

Although there are numerous shortcomings, initiating reform is the primary step in fostering change, so they are not entirely futile. However, future NSA reform must address the greater issues involving transparency, Internet security, accountability, and national sovereignty for them to have any tangible impact.

Photo Source: Reason.com

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  1. Joe Cucchiara Aren't you glad Snowden practiced his 2nd amendment right to freedom of speech?
  2. Joe Cucchiara Hey Boyd, you are the poster child for critics with no solutions AKA the GOP
  3. Joe Cucchiara Another unbiased well informed stepford  man.
  4. Joe Cucchiara It is such a pleasure to read a comment from such a well informed and non biased person..NOT
  5. Gwendolyn DeKoning It will change for the worst if 0bama is doing it.
  6. Dave Betker Well, I hope you "independents" are happy. If you had shown some common sense and voted for the Republican, this probably wouldn't have happened. And if by some circumstance it was already in progress and could not have beem prevented, a president Romney would have dealt with it more severely. But, no, you're too hung up on being independent instead of being sensible!
  7. Kizone Kaprow "Obama now advocating to reform the NSA program...is an indication to the legitimacy behind Snowden’s acts." Hardly. A politician cannot "legitimize" the criminal acts of another individual by paying lip service to them. Snowden must be judged by his own actions, not those of craven politicians acting cynically to promote and protect their own political interests.
  8. Jeep David Congress / the President are the SECONDARY lines of defense in NSA OVERSIGHT!!!! I am SO TIRED of Snowden's illegal actions being used to exaggerate the NSA's abilities and desires and Obama being blamed!!!!!!!! George W. Bush INITIATED and now Barack Obama administers the NSA programs. NO ONE has any interest in indiscriminately reading e-mails, tapping phones or NEWS ROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!! And only people that see “black helicopters” EVERYWHERE would even think that they would. Any technician can climb a pole and tap a phone. And when an unauthorized person does that; IT IS A CRIME. That has always been the CASE... and always will be the case. Snowden just climbed the proverbial pole on his computer to illegally tap into information, Metadata, he was SWORN to PROTECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the crying done for Assange, Swartz, Manning, Snowden and WikiLeaks is missed placed. The NSA is, FIRST LINE, limited by access to a court order. NOW THE ISSUE OF A COURT ORDER IS NOT CONSTRAINED AT ALL, BECAUSE THE JUDICIARY ASSERTS “ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY” FOR ALL!!!! Look around, Europe is way ahead on privacy law, Google, Facebook and Twitter do more unrestrained malicious and corrupt spying than the NSA and NOBODY COMPLAINS. "WE HAVE NO RIGHTS OUR GOVERNMENT IS BOUND TO RESPECT" Internationally Asserted Basic Human Rights, The Constitution for the United States of America and Statute Law are IGNORED I sometimes feel like the waif in "The Emperor's New Clothes" AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN SEE IT?? Assange, Swartz, Manning, Snowden and WikiLeaks, are grandstanding information terrorist Not HEROES!!!!! http://dgjeep.blogspot.com/2013/10/we-have-no-rights-our-government-is.html
  9. Tim Mainord A great American & President Obama.
  10. Angela Towry How about this president stop it then instead of making it worse?
258 comments
Dave Betker
Dave Betker

Well, I hope you "independents" are happy. If you had shown some common sense and voted for the Republican, this probably wouldn't have happened. And if by some circumstance it was already in progress and could not have beem prevented, a president Romney would have dealt with it more severely. But, no, you're too hung up on being independent instead of being sensible!

Kizone Kaprow
Kizone Kaprow

"Obama now advocating to reform the NSA program...is an indication to the legitimacy behind Snowden’s acts."

Hardly. A politician cannot "legitimize" the criminal acts of another individual by paying lip service to them. Snowden must be judged by his own actions, not those of craven politicians acting cynically to promote and protect their own political interests.

Jeep David
Jeep David

Congress / the President are the SECONDARY lines of defense in NSA OVERSIGHT!!!!I am SO TIRED of Snowden's illegal actions being used to exaggerate the NSA's abilities and desires and Obama being blamed!!!!!!!! George W. Bush INITIATED and now Barack Obama administers the NSA programs. NO ONE has any interest in indiscriminately reading e-mails, tapping phones or NEWS ROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!! And only people that see “black helicopters” EVERYWHERE would even think that they would.Any technician can climb a pole and tap a phone. And when an unauthorized person does that; IT IS A CRIME. That has always been the CASE... and always will be the case. Snowden just climbed the proverbial pole on his computer to illegally tap into information, Metadata, he was SWORN to PROTECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!All the crying done for Assange, Swartz, Manning, Snowden and WikiLeaks is missed placed. The NSA is, FIRST LINE, limited by access to a court order.NOW THE ISSUE OF A COURT ORDER IS NOT CONSTRAINED AT ALL, BECAUSE THE JUDICIARY ASSERTS “ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY” FOR ALL!!!!Look around, Europe is way ahead on privacy law, Google, Facebook and Twitter do more unrestrained malicious and corrupt spying than the NSA and NOBODY COMPLAINS."WE HAVE NO RIGHTS OUR GOVERNMENT IS BOUND TO RESPECT" Internationally Asserted Basic Human Rights, The Constitution for the United States of America and Statute Law are IGNORED I sometimes feel like the waif in "The Emperor's New Clothes" AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN SEE IT??Assange, Swartz, Manning, Snowden and WikiLeaks, are grandstanding information terrorist Not HEROES!!!!!http://dgjeep.blogspot.com/2013/10/we-have-no-rights-our-government-is.html

Angela Towry
Angela Towry

How about this president stop it then instead of making it worse?

Bill Gunter
Bill Gunter

More needs to "Come out" from Snowden!

Jim Livesay
Jim Livesay

The NSA is in control. Obama dares not cross them... He knows what happened to JFK could happen to him... No one can touch the CIA, not even a pseudo congress. They have created a monster they can't control. Watch as they continue to control our Gov't and the people, make no mistake, the CIA is in control.

Ray Hammond
Ray Hammond

too many doubters, negative attitudes by nature to see but things will change. Maybe not in our time and that's most peoples frustration, maybe not even for the better but it will change.

Ray Miller
Ray Miller

Things will change alright, they're going to get worse.

Boyd Madren
Boyd Madren

No, not as long as Obama is in office, no matter what he tells us because he lied three ways. 1. Out of left side of mouth, 2. Out of right side.3. Out of the front with a big grin on his face, thinking to himself, suckers, U can't stop me!

James Ellsworth
James Ellsworth

Things are going to get worse... not better... so yes, change is inevitable.

Jacqueline Lynn
Jacqueline Lynn

O's actions are strictly cosmetic with no substance!

Mark Watts
Mark Watts

No not until Barry is behind bars.

Theodore R. Wade Jr.
Theodore R. Wade Jr.

I doubt it seriously. The NSA has gone rogue, still staffed with the same crew and still doing what it has been doing for over 20 years. The only way to stop them is to eliminate them . . . completely. .

Stacy Kuta
Stacy Kuta

nothing will change until abuse of power is exposed the those perpetuating it are disciplined, including not being appointed come election time - based on their proven history. Opuppet says what the machine thinks, we want to hear.

Gary Wood
Gary Wood

Nope! Obama has lied about EVERYTGHING in his administration from Day 1. No reason to believe that he's suddenly developed a backbone.

Tim Brown
Tim Brown

No. When powers are given, they are very hard to take away. The NSA won't give up their powers

Evan Palmer
Evan Palmer

Wishes are like fishes. Tough to catch

Sada Anand Kaur Khalsa
Sada Anand Kaur Khalsa

Difference is that a global consciousness has changed. We have become a much more interdependent world. Technological & climate/environmental shifts are allowing us to coalesce as never before. Our survivial depends upon our global coalition. Fukushima radiation is our primary task before us.

Sada Anand Kaur Khalsa
Sada Anand Kaur Khalsa

Snowden changed the global conversation, putting every citizen & government on alert. The curtain has been drawn open, what we do with this new dawn is ours to decide. Leave fear & anger behind, we need all our energy for what is our responsibility to correct.

Sue Hood
Sue Hood

maybe for a while then back to business as usual.

Brian Biesemeyer
Brian Biesemeyer

No. I read the actual proposal.1> They want to mandate the telecommunication companies to hold the data longer instead of the government holding it, thus shifting the financial burden of data storage into the private sector. 2> They want to expand the ability for government to requisition that data from the private telecom's from "probable cause" to "reasonable suspicion". So, in the end, more government power with less government responsibility.DON'T FALL FOR THE TROJAN HORSE!!

Cathy Watson Hill
Cathy Watson Hill

I hope not? Checking the cells help get the.bad guys who want to harm us! That is the truth, how come because Bush did it makes it ok? We have stopped men trying to bomb us again! What part of that do u not understand? As I said, they can check my cell if it's helps!!!

Justin T Gavry
Justin T Gavry

Not at all, if it were to actually change, Obama would pardon Snow den and welcome him home as a patriot with open arms. His administration will prosecute him to the fullest if they could only get their hands on him, just like Barrett Brown, Bradley Manning

Mac Boyd
Mac Boyd

Who knows? These guys are not afraid to keep doing what they want, and they don't want to answer to anyone.

Steven Jarman
Steven Jarman

But everything he has said has been the opposite of what he does!

Vojt Ted Barys
Vojt Ted Barys

Nothing will change, except for the worse. Snowden was a fool for thinking he would change something that has been going on for so long.

Kurt Nordquist
Kurt Nordquist

They are just trying to whitewash the crimes and spying. NSA knows where the lost Malaysia aircraft went but they don't want to reveal any methods. Amazingly they repurposed the Iridium satellite cellphone system to use in a visual search for the lost aircraft. As if that capability was not already built in.

Michael Curl
Michael Curl

No Obama always does the opposite of what he says.

Michael John Nester
Michael John Nester

We the People need to make things change now before it is too late. Please remember that the government works for us and not the other way around.

Michael Rudnin
Michael Rudnin

This is typical results from Obama's lead from behind style ... the merest fig leaf of compromise, the smallest change possible to get the spotlight off a public relations nightmare.

Sharon Bonugli
Sharon Bonugli

Let's see if all the rest of OBAMAS tricks and steals will surface!

Billy Elsie
Billy Elsie

All this means is the physical collection by the NSA won't continue. But any time access to phone company records will always be available. Thus, the miss step can always be broached.

Alvin Burk
Alvin Burk

I would believe nothing Obozo said.

Joe Cucchiara
Joe Cucchiara

It is such a pleasure to read a comment from such a well informed and non biased person..NOT


Joe Cucchiara
Joe Cucchiara

Another unbiased well informed stepford  man. 

Joe Cucchiara
Joe Cucchiara

Hey Boyd, you are the poster child for critics with no solutions AKA the GOP

Joe Cucchiara
Joe Cucchiara

Aren't you glad Snowden practiced his 2nd amendment right to freedom of speech?