June 15, 2013

BUT THEN, THEY HAVE TO HATE IT WHEN OUR GOVERNMENT ACHIEVES THINGS:

Some on the right going too far in NSA criticism (Michael Gerson, June 13, 2013, Washington Post)

[A]sserting that U.S. intelligence agencies are part of a conspiracy that somehow includes a national gun registry, drone surveillance and Lois Lerner crosses a line. It is one thing to oppose the policies of the administration; it is another to call for resistance against a "regime" and a "police state." It is the difference between skepticism about government and hatred for government. And it raises the question: How is it even possible to love such an Amerika?

This distinction between opposition and resistance is illustrated in attitudes toward the leaker Edward Snowden. If our country is being run by a regime, then those who expose its machinations are heroes, as some on the right have called Snowden. If the U.S. government is a fallible institution doing its best to protect citizens from terrorist violence, then a libertarian loner who reveals classified material (including U.S. cyberwarfare plans) and bolts for a communist country might be viewed in a different light.

Some libertarians and populist conservatives are not merely attacking Obama; they are slandering U.S. intelligence services. There is no evidence, or even a serious allegation, that the NSA has made political use of data it has gathered. This is not a rogue operation. The NSA, with the permission of a court and under the supervision of Congress, built a searchable digital database. Listening in on phone calls still requires a warrant, based on probable cause.

The continuity of anti-terrorism efforts across two administrations, with the bipartisan support of congressional leaders, is an achievement, not a scandal. 

Posted by at June 15, 2013 8:03 AM
  

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