Obama Derangement Syndrome


theoThe saga of Edward Snowden and the revelations surrounding the NSA’s data-mining have realigned the political spectrum in unexpected ways. This is especially true of some conservatives, including at major right-wing publications. The Daily Caller‘s Theo Caldwell, who can’t decide if Snowden is “Nathan Hale or Benedict Arnold,” suggests “the Leader of the Free World should grant him a pardon.” Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is now virulently anti-NSA. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a bill expanding the definition of the Fourth Amendment beyond recognition. Whether they realize it or not, the conservatives who are succumbing to their own Obama Derangement Syndrome are imperiling national security in the process.

Some of these conservatives have short memories. When the New York Times published its report on the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, a number of conservatives rallied to the president’s side. ”It strikes me as odd to say that Congress authorized the commander in chief to capture, to detain, to kill, if necessary, al-Qaeda, but we can’t listen to their phone calls, and we can’t gather intelligence to find out what they’re doing so we can prevent future attacks against the American people,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). The administration was not “going hog wild restraining American liberties,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Six months later, when the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal revealed the details of Bush’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, the GOP-controlled House voted to condemn the revelation, with Peter King (R-NY) referring to the reporters as ”co-conspirators with the leakers,” adding that if another terror attack occurs, ”the blood will be on their hands.” In 2005, the Washington Post published details of a program that held terror suspects in various sites abroad, including in Jordan, where they could be interrogated more harshly than in the U.S. The leak was widely denounced.

Conservatives were right to be angry back then. In all of the above cases, the political campaign waged against these powerful counter-terrorism programs led to their dismantling. Alerting al-Qaeda to the possibility that their phone calls were being monitored and their finances being tracked, even after the nation had endured the worst domestic attack in history, could have easily been construed as giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war. The leaks themselves were classifiable as espionage and had enormous consequences. A week after the 2005 Post report, an al-Qaeda strike on Western hotels in Jordan killed more than 50 people. The CIA leaker in this case, Mary McCarthy, a significant Democratic Party donor, was never prosecuted, though she clearly violated espionage laws and likely precipitated the deaths of many innocent people.

In light of yesterday’s revelations, it is no stretch to characterize Edward Snowden’s behavior in a similar manner. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden revealed that the United States has been hacking into computers in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland for years. “We hack network backbones–like huge internet routers, basically–that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” he said. “Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer. Every level of society is demanding accountability and oversight.”

Snowden can coat this revelation with a patina of self-righteousness, but the fact remains that he has not only alerted the world’s largest Communist nation — allied with Iran, Syria and Russia — to our capabilities, but every other enemy of our nation as well. As a result, everyone, including Islamic jihadists, can take effective counter-measures against such programs, putting Americans in greater danger than they were before this information was made public.

This is not a good tradeoff for the the so-called “service” done to the country by the Snowden leak, which is being greatly distorted by the remnants of the washed up anti-Iraq War movement on the Left and Obama-hating conservatives on the Right, some of whom sense political opportunity in the wind. In their fervor, they have misrepresented the facts, claiming that the government is rifling through emails and reading phone records at their discretion. They fail to mention that, as Andrew McCarthy explains, “the ongoing phone-record collection is the lawful, statutory retention component of a program with extensive civil-liberties protections. Significantly, these protections prohibit the government from inspecting the retained records without judicial approval based on a demonstration of reasonable suspicion of terrorist activity” (italics original).

To not move counter-terrorism to the realm where many terrorists operate — the web — would indeed be a great disservice to the country. But the key is to find balance and boundaries within the Constitution. As Charles Krauthammer explains, ”everything we have can be abused …. [C]ops have guns and they can shoot, and they can shoot illegally or incompetently or crazily, but you don’t abolish the police for that reason.” He continues: “Countries spy on each other, we spy on others, I am glad that we do … [I]n principle, can you abuse that? Yes. But then you have to talk about the mechanism of protecting against abuse, and that I think is a good debate. But to say, ‘Well, in principle it can be abused, we shouldn’t have it,’ makes no sense at all.”

Yet that seems to be exactly the direction many conservatives are taking. Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) “Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013″ would completely handicap law enforcement, not to mention counter-terrorism, Andrew McCarthy explains at the National Review. On the particular matter of phone records, McCarthy says that “federal courts have consistently, emphatically rejected this implausible suggestion, holding that government’s collection of phone records does not even implicate the Fourth Amendment, much less violate it.”

That is not to say that concern over such government power is unwarranted — especially if the public knows it is dealing with an untrustworthy, corrupt and incompetent government. As noted in a previous column, the Obama administration has completely squandered the trust of the public. Nothing highlights this better than Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s pathetic excuse for lying to Congress about the NSA’s collection of data on millions of Americans. ”I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no,’” Clapper told NBC News on Sunday. “Least untruthful” is a remarkable new standard to say the least, and does little more than exacerbate the anger most Americans already feel. Like the IRS scandal, the AP and Fox News media spying scandal, Benghazi, and the Fast and Furious gun running program, the existence of an NSA surveillance program can be viewed as another piece of lawlessness perpetrated by a lawless administration.

Given the Obama administration’s penchant for lawlessness, it is easy to understand the fear that Snowden’s revelations engender. Yet where is the evidence, as has been produced in the IRS scandal, for example, that the NSA has violated the law? Furthermore, what is the alternative to keeping the best tabs we possibly can on those who would do us harm? Krauthammer rightly notes that a robust debate on the mechanisms of protecting Americans against abuse is a worthy endeavor, but that is about making sure the NSA functions in the most legal manner possible, not abandoning its mission altogether.

Giving us a glimpse into the importance of the metadata program, yesterday, NSA director Army Gen. Keith Alexander told a Senate panel the agency had “disrupted dozens of terrorist attacks.” “I do think it’s important that we get this right,” he said, “and I want the American people to know that we’re trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country.”

Conservatives critical of the NSA metadata program — and quite familiar with Bush Derangement Syndrome and the needless destruction of important counter-terrorism programs — must, unlike their progressive counterparts, separate their animosity for this administration and its standard-bearer from the stark reality that the threat against America is real and ongoing. Americans deserve a government that is willing to work towards the necessary balance between protection and privacy — but it cannot do that if conservatives join the radicals and overreach in the wrong direction.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    Speaking for myself, I see your point entire but I also believe that these issues need to be examined more closely in 0′Bama’s administration because collectively they lead to tyranny.

    I don’t agree with some of the extreme positions taken on individual issues with the NSA. But coming in the wake of revelations about how the IRS is being used, it makes one want to reexamine everything we’ve done to allow federal authority to expand.

    Rand Paul is over-the-top and so is Greenwald. But it should go without saying that I don’t have to take the polar opposite position just because I’ve noticed their exaggerated statements.

    So much has happened with 0′Bama and the strong evidence just started to spring forth seemingly all at once. Frankly there are lot of issues we need to rethink, but mostly we’ve got to get back to the constitution when it’s clear, and tread carefully about what we allow when it’s not clear.

    • wildjew

      Additionally, here we have a president that calls murderous jihad (Nidal Hasan / Fort Hood) “work place violence,” and “violent extremism.” We have president who sees it as his job to fight negative stereotypes against Islam; and a president who tells our enemies in the United Nations, the future must not belong to those who slander (i.e., criticize) the prophet of Islam.

      I did not raise a stink about the Patriot Act under Bush (maybe those conservatives that did were precient, anticipating an Obama), even though Bush was also dishonest about the root of the problem (Islam), I felt that Bush was zeroing in on Islamic jihadists, not his political enemies as we are seeing with Obama’s IRS. If there is such a thing as ‘Obama derangement syndrome’ (I never liked Krauthammer’s term), Obama has brought it on himself.

  • dansama

    The NSA is no more looking for terrorists than the IRS just wants to be fair. Obama is one click away from turning the USA into an Iron Curtin/Sharia Law country and what are you worried about? Edward Snowden!!! IDIOTS!!!

  • davarino

    I think if Snowden had only revealed what the NSA is doing with US citizens then I would be ok with that, but he went to far in revealing what we are doing in the realm of spying. Alls fair in love and war, but to spy on everyone in the US is stupid and wrong.

    • Steve Fraser

      It’s not “stupid” if your goal is absolute political power based on the powers of a police state.

  • leith

    the timing of the snowden whistleblowing and his schprockety affectations should be considered. there are no accidents.

  • Adam

    Excellent article. Snowden is not a hero and makes the U.S. look foolish. Jihadists are laughing at us. The world is laughing at how we place people with no loyalty into positions that are supposed to protect our national security. Traitors like Snowden make us weak and vulnerable.

    • wildjew
      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers”

        In leftist lexicon, smart means insane.

    • IronYank

      Lets see here, Big Goverment doesnt hardly enforce the borders, a terrorist or cartel thug could walk in with no effort by the Feds to stop them yet Big Goverment feels the need take our guns & spy on everything we do. Does this make sense to anyone?
      These people in Washington are Frauds & need to be removed or at the very least, ignored. They are the traitors to the constitution along with folks like you.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    OBAMA, CHINA, THE NSA AND EDWARD SNOWDEN’S DAMAGING TREACHERY
    Don’t think for one moment that Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations from Communist Hong Kong coming just days before Obama’s failed meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping was uncoordinated and accidental. In his interveiw with Jeff Greenwald Snowden-a systems administrator with Top Secret clearance at Booz Allen that gave him wide access to servers containing classified info at NSA (he boasted that he could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President”) said that he was in possession of “all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”
    If true who are these people that could be harmed by what Snowden has and knows? NSA officials? Administration heads close to Obama? Obama himself? Does he have damning evidence of top down political corruption involving the NSA similar to the IRS scandal? If so do our Chinese enemies now have this info? Was relinquishing these documents to the Chinese the price Snowden had to pay for their protection? Harming people in the US may not be Snowden’s goal; but it’s not something the Chicoms would shy away from if it could advance their strategic goals in their cyberwar with the US-which they’re escalating and hell bent on winning.
    Front and center in Obama’s talks with Xi last week was cybersecurity and China’s relentless attacks on US companies and government agencies which is costing us billions and weakening us. The administration has been warning Beijing of diplomatic and economic repercussions if the attacks continue (see). But is his talks with Obama last week Xi showed no interest in negotiating a settlement and stopping these crimes-especially now that his government could have damaging info from Snowden that could greatly add to scandal plague Obama’s headaches and woes. Thanks to the traitorous Snowden China has Obama by the balls.
    If I’m right about this (which I think I am) threatening words by Obama against Chinese cyber theft will be followed by inaction. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other US companies massively hacked by Beijing will raise cain with Obama to act and strike back; but he will resist them incurring their wrath (and that of Republicans and Democrats) as the lesser of two evils. Our pathetically weak incompetent president who’s leading us down the path of retreat, decline and collapse is now weaker than ever thanks to his very stupid and unnecessary policy of trying to outdo George Bush on national security and dramatically expanding the surveillance state.

  • kevinstroup

    Sorry, but someone needs to report that the government is spying on everyone at all times. This is what totalitarianism looks like. Are we some 3rd world banana republic? Snowden may not be totally honest, but SOMEONE had to tell us, the taxpaying public, about this criminal mess. Is it okay to listen in on my phone calls to my wife, lawyer, physician or clergyman? Well, the government does it anyway. We know who the major threat is: ISLAM. But we make excuses about islam all day every day, help promote sharia, and punish anyone who argues against islam. Enough. This insanity is destroying our civilization. We won’t fight real terrorist, but will go after the TEA Party tooth and toenail. Am I the only one who sees a problem here? And you don’t want to know about it? One last thought. That vast treasure trove of data is not going to just sit idly there. Someone will use it. Do the terms electioneering and insider trading mean anything to you?

    • ziggy zoggy

      Someone is GOING to use it?

    • Jeff Ludwig

      This comment by Kevin Stroup is very focused and appropriate. I wholly subscribe and say amen to every line of it.

  • Charles Martel

    While I don’t think he should be portrayed as a hero he is still no more a traitor than George Washington. Remember, this president is violating the constitution to a level never seen before. Maybe he should be called the traitor.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “While I don’t think he should be portrayed as a hero he is still no more a traitor than George Washington. Remember, this president is violating the constitution to a level never seen before. Maybe he should be called the traitor.”

      We don’t know enough yet, but I see your point. Yes, 0′Bama is clearly the traitor here. But we knew that already.

    • Sandra Lee Smith

      Already did that! Sent him e-mails so stating years ago.

  • http://onfollowingchrist.wordpress.com Paul B.

    When the New York Times published its report on the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, a number of conservatives rallied to the president’s side

    I doubt that Bush’s eavesdropping involved hundreds of millions of Americans. Back in 2005 we had the presumption that the eavesdropping was was being done on an as-needed basis. Whatever his faults, to this day I do not believe Bush would intentionally harm this nation. And he didn’t go around claiming al quida was defeated, while wiretapping us to death in secret. The current revelations are startling. If we don’t draw the line here and now, there is nothing the government won’t be able to do in the future. This is extremely clear when you look at the bevy of other obama scandals involving abuse of power that accompany this one.

    • Gislef

      Bush wasn’t. Neither was Sensenbrenner. When the author says, “Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is now virulently anti-NSA. ” what he means is that the NSA took powers unto itself that went BEYOND the Patriot Act, and were never signed off on by Congress.Yes, imagine: the guy who helped write the Patriot Act objects to things being attached to it by the NSA that weren’t approved.

    • Steve Fraser

      I guess GWB destroyed Liberty in order to save it.

      • ziggy zoggy

        I guess you swallowed to destroy the evidence.

  • DebRollin

    People need to realize that both the government and Snowden are destructive, both work together to divide people, and cause mistrust, destroy abilities to keep people safe. This is what society has become..Electing the lawless, greedy, corrupt politicians have destroyed us from within. Rome fell, all civilizations fall, none are too powerful to fall.

  • Watcher

    Psssssst…….hey Arnold, the government is not your friend. Especially if you are a tax paying Caucasian, Christian, Conservative. It’s been that way since Bush 41 was in office. Just thought I would clue you in.

  • Texas Patriot

    The only thing deranged about American policy at this point in time is the failure to recognize Islam as a mortal enemy of human freedom, human equality and human dignity. The only American president to appreciate that reality with requisite clarity was Thomas Jefferson.

    • http://onfollowingchrist.wordpress.com Paul B.

      Jefferson also made the huge mistake of advancing and signing the Treaty of Tripoli. Maybe he came to his understanding of the true nature of Islam later.

      • Texas Patriot

        The Treaty of Tripoli was signed by President John Adams in 1796 and subsequently broken by the Pasha of Tripoli in 1801. Then acting President Thomas Jefferson inquired as to the reason for the continuous attacks against American shipping off the Barbary Coast. He was informed that the teachings of Muhammad permitted Muslims to attack and plunder non-Muslim property. Thomas Jefferson responded by sending three ships, including Old Ironsides and a detachment of Marines to suppress the piracy.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

        • http://onfollowingchrist.wordpress.com Paul B.

          Thank you. I don’t know how I got that wrong. That exonerates TJ in my mind for a great diplomatic blunder.

          • Texas Patriot

            Apparently TJ was a great fan of Islam and had a copy of the Koran in his personal library. That is until he realized that Islam purports to give Muslims “greater than equal” rights against non-Muslims which of course is totally inconsistent with everything TJ stood for.

          • Liberty_Clinger

            “The [Ottoman] ambassador answered us that [the right to extortion and slavery of infidels] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were
            sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Muslim who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

            http://capitalismmagazine.com/2012/08/obamas-pro-islamic-rewriting-of-american-history/

          • Texas Patriot

            Someone should read that quote to Obama’s face at a national press conference and ask one question: “Did Thomas Jefferson have it wrong?”

    • Samuel

      Islam and Judaism – the twin enemies of humanity. Look at all the jew bankers on Wall Street who are destroying America with their avarice.

      • Steve Fraser

        Not Marxism and Fascism?

        • Liberty_Clinger

          Islam, Marxism and Fascism – in historical order – and in proportion to their tyranny.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Look at all the jew bankers on Wall Street who are destroying America with their avarice”

        Get rid of all bankers and connect the money trees directly to government EBT cards.

      • ziggy zoggy

        You skinheads crack me up.

  • RickMacDonald

    I a sorry Mr. Ahlert but you just do not see the problem clearly, This is NOT about Mr. Snowden; rather it is about Democracy. What is important is that the citizenry be fully informed of what it’s government is doing at all times and in every way, else it is not a true democracy. Yes, our enemies will change some of their habits because of Mr. Snowden’s revelations. And yes we will have to adjust to this changed situation. But that is the chalange of a true democracy. What Mr. Ahlert seems not to understand is that his is the road to abuse of the citizenry; of which, there has already been too much under this Presidency.

  • RogerDane

    Clarity is what is lacking. Retention vs inspection? An excellent point but ‘how’ is it that the data ‘retained’ can be used to prevent ‘anything’ without ‘inspection?’ And again, if we knew that a terrorist event ‘was to occur’ and had that ‘suspect’, what levels of interrogation would we go to in order to obtain the information? It is in the degrees… or “the devil is in the details.”

    On the ‘other hand’… while Bush was not perfect and Clinton was even less, this current resident at 1600 is clearly anti-American. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear can not but see his intentions are to bring America low and lead us to destruction. Just yesterday he said he would (Q)”veto any bill that forbids his appointees or officers from telling a soldier that he cannot mention Jesus during prayer or have a Bible on his desk, or that keeps those appointees from telling a chaplain (who is an ordained clergyman) what religious teachings he is allowed to give in worship services, or what spiritual counseling he can give to another
    soldier.”(EQ) Great guy.

  • quillerm

    The author of the Bush Patriot Act, which was successful in combating terrorism, has condemned the expanded Obama Program which was expanded to more than just Overseas calls from terrorists to US agents. The Bush Administration was targeting National Security concerns, Obama is targeting Conservatives for Political gain. The NEW Mission of NSA, Google, Facebook, under Obama is to help Democrats during Campaigns to find undecided voters and target conservatives for intimidation.

  • Jeff_in_Atlanta

    BS, Arnold! China, Iraq, Iran, Russia, et. al. have been well aware that we are intercepting their communications and analyzing their e-mails for years. They’ve been doing it, too. It’s all part of modern technical espionage. The details of which calls we’re listening to, which computers we’ve hacked, how we’re doing it, and the success we’re having (or not having) is obviously secret, but the fact we’re doing it has been common knowledge to foreign governments for years.

    What Snowden did was make the American people aware that not only was NSA listening to foreign communications and computers, but that NSA was also listening to American citizens. The furor that has been created by our government isn’t that he told the enemy, they already knew it. What government is upset about is that now that we know that we’re being monitored, we might put limits on what they can do. Government is afraid that if we don’t trust them, we might not vote for them. They’re not afraid of the enemy knowing it…they’re afraid of our citizens knowing it!

    • Steve Fraser

      But won’t Big Brother make us all “safe”?

  • dizzyizzy

    The Paulbots are boosted by the Snowden affair. Guest blogger Phillip Smyth wrote a history of such “libertarians” and isolationists here: http://clarespark.com/2012/09/14/ron-paul-anarchist-in-chief/. “Ron Paul: Anarchist in chief.” Fox News Channel is now slugging it out on their air, with their own Paulbots on display.

  • Gislef

    “We hack network backbones–like huge internet routers, basically–that
    give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of
    computers without having to hack every single one”

    Yes, because America’s enemies, who were doing the exact same thing, didn’t know what we were doing it as well. Somehow, “the fact remains that he has not only alerted the world’s largest Communist nation — allied with Iran, Syria and Russia — to our capabilities, but every other enemy of our nation as well.” “Our capabilities” that they already knew or could safely assume that we were doing.

  • John Davidson

    All I know is every year since our constitution was ratified our representatives have found all sorts of ways to circumvent it until at this point in time, it has been rendered worthless.

    • William James Ward

      Worthless to the left John but we continue on supporting it.
      Hopefully we can live up to the listing of diehard……….William

  • ElizabethMC

    obama has had very little criticism from the msm. This doesn’t come close to derangement syndrome.

  • Steve Fraser

    Is this the same Obama that stole sealed court records to smear political opponents?

  • Steve Fraser

    The ChiComs and Muslims have people all through the USA’s intelligence agencies. They sure don’t need Mr. Snowden to tell them anything they don’t already know…It’s America’s people who are kept in the dark.

  • Liberty_Clinger

    “In their [Conservatives] fervor, they have misrepresented the facts, claiming that the government is rifling through emails and reading phone records at their discretion. They fail to mention that, as Andrew McCarthy explains, “the ongoing phone-record collection is the lawful, statutory retention component of a program with extensive civil-liberties protections.” Arnold Ahlert

    “Significantly, these protections prohibit the government from inspecting the retained records without judicial approval based on a demonstration of reasonable suspicion of terrorist activity” Andrew McCarthy

    Our Federal Government rifled through the emails of James Rosen of Fox News without reasonable suspicion of terrorist activity. So, despite Andrew McCarthy’s explanation, the ongoing phone-record collection is probably not lawful because we no longer have extensive civil-liberties protections. James Rosen, like all of us, is entitled to equal natural rights and equal protection of the law under the Declaration of Independence and 14th amendment. When government uses its powers of investigation unequally among the population, when government targets its political opponents, investigating them selectively and calling them “enemies”, as Barak Hussein Obama did, then the half of America that opposes the Obama administration is oppressed by tyranny.

    • EarlyBird

      But it’s not even about Obama, or any other president in power at any given time. Conservatives should take a jaundiced view of human nature, especially the nature of humans with power. This system would be just as much a threat to our liberty if your preferred president was in the White House. Even just out of pure incompetence and bureaucratic blindness alone government abuses power. It will abuse the power to write parking tickets, let alone this level of surveillance power.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        War time measures are different than peace time. There is a reasonable debate about what that means today.

        0′Bama says there is no war, but extends the already radical war-time measures.

        That’s where 0′Bama is not trusted. Furthermore, all of these encroachments also favor the people he has empowered internationally in many separate moves, otherwise known as our enemies.

        What does that make 0′Bama? An enemy of the state.

        • EarlyBird

          “0′Bama says there is no war, but extends the already radical war-time measures.”
          If by that you’re suggesting that Obama has extended the surveillance program we’re discussing on this thread, I don’t think so. He’s simply been using it the way its been used since its implementation in Fall of 2001.
          And Obama has not so much stated that there is “no war,” but that we can’t stay on a permanent war footing and remain a recognizable democracy. And he’s right about that.
          Oh: but maybe you’re referring to his decision last night to get us into Syria. I am aghast and outraged by this idiotic move.

      • Liberty_Clinger

        EarlyBird: “This system would be just as much a threat to our liberty if your preferred president was in the White House.”

        Not true because my preferred president would respect the people’s natural right to equal protection of the law.

        “All are subject by nature to equal laws of morality, and in society have a right to equal laws for their government…” John Adams

        “Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights [along with the majority], which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” Thomas Jefferson

        • William James Ward

          “What me worry” ……..Barak Obama……………William

        • EarlyBird

          You completely misunderstand the very ideas of the Founding Fathers you quoted. They would not have been for handing over dangerous surveillance powers to “their guy” who they trusted, because they took a fundamentally skeptical view of human nature and the nature of humans with power. It’s why they designed a government which limits power of those in office.

      • ziggy zoggy

        girlybird,
        “no other President in power at any given time” Has used every government agency to persecute dissidents. No other President even had dissidents.

        • EarlyBird

          Oh please.

          • ziggy zoggy

            Bitch.

  • Liberty_Clinger

    “Yet where is the evidence, as has been produced in the IRS scandal, for example, that the NSA has violated the law?” Arnold Ahlert

    Isn’t it likely that the Obama administration uses its NSA arm in violation of the 14th amendment just as it uses its IRS arm in violation of the 14th amendment, targeting Obama’s domestic political opponents as enemies? Isn’t violation of the 14th amendment a violation of Constitutional Law? The real question is how do we the American people investigate a Federal government, including the IRS and NSA, which has engaged in the tyranny of unequal application of the law? Don’t you realize that tyrannical governments resist investigation?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Isn’t it likely that the Obama administration uses its NSA arm in violation of the 14th amendment just as it uses its IRS arm in violation of the 14th amendment, targeting Obama’s domestic political opponents as enemies?”

      It’s plausible. We just don’t know yet.

      • Liberty_Clinger

        It is in fact very plausible because the precedent was set with the IRS as a tool for oppression of domestic political opponents, i.e.: tyranny, i.e.: treason against the people’s Declarational right to equal natural rights and against the Constitution’s 14th amendment protection for the same via equal application of law. One would have to suffer from blind paranoia not to see the dots and connect them in a rational manner.

      • ziggy zoggy

        “It’s plausible. We just don’t know yet”.
        Dude. You know better. Every government agency in the country pushes the Obama agenda and punishes dissenters – even our military.
        I never shot myself in the dick before but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.

  • Liberty_Clinger

    “To not move counter-terrorism to the realm where many terrorists operate — the web — would indeed be a great disservice to the country. But the key is to find balance and boundaries within the Constitution.” Arnold Ahlert

    The balance is simple common sense. You investigate the people and groups of people who harbor a supremacist ideology and legal system which renders some people “more equal than others,” so, you selectively investigate Marxists and Islamists, i.e.: you employ rational intolerance as opposed to the bigotry of irrational intolerance. You don’t investigate Patriot or Tea Party groups because, like our Founding Fathers, they believe that all men are created equal – that all are endowed by their Creator with equal natural rights and therefore deserve equal protection of the law.

    “In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live [Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution].” Samuel Adams

  • Edward smith

    Anybody that trades their freedom for security deserves neither.

    A wise man said something to that effect over 200 years ago.

  • EarlyBird

    Conservatives’ discomfort with how deep and far the NSA’s tentacles extend has nothing to do with Obama, per se. And how could it, given that there is no reason to believe that the Obama administration has used PRISM in any way other than how it was designed to be used back in November, 2001.

    The scary thing is that PRISM is not illegal: it is fully legal and was enshrined in the Patriot Act with the blessings of a very large majority of Congress and has been operable since the time that we were still clearing rubble from downtown Manhattan. The “scandal” is that there is really no scandal to speak of, other than we are now fully informed, thanks to Snowden, how much power we have handed over to our government.
    This is not about which president is in the White House at any given time. It’s about an intrusive and illiberal (in the classical sense) surveillance system built into our government. Obama could dry up and blow away, and the NSA and the national security bureaucrats would still have and use this power. If McCain had won in 2008, or Romney last November, we would still be having this discussion.
    And in that vein, who says that it’s the president who is most likely to misuse this power? If history tells us anything, it’s the heads of the federal bureaucracies who are likely to abuse it. J. Edgar Hoover comes to mind.

    Ahlert simply exposes his own “Obama Derangement Syndrome” by being unable to see how conservatives should have a problem with PRISM and other over-reaching federal powers beyond a given president himself. Like this would not be a built-in danger to our security as long as “our guys” have control of it?

    • ziggy zoggy

      You do know that if your trolling exceeds a single sentence that nobody reads it?

  • johnnywood

    Espionage is espionage, and treason is treason; we need to hang a few of these traitors no matter what their political affiliation. There have been numerous cases of treason and espionage but no one ever has been made to pay the price for those crimes. Bill Ayers and Bill Clinton are two good examples of what I mean. This should never be seen as a political opportunity by anyone but as the crimes that they are.

    • EarlyBird

      Ah! Now he’s actually committed “espionage!” What next, crimes against humanity?

      • ziggy zoggy

        What’s next? Your mom toasts pop tarts and interrupts your dungeons and dragons duel with some 13 year old Grandmaster? HAHAHA!

  • Giles Blyzzard

    What is it about the fourth amendment that you don’t understand?

  • Erudite Mavin

    Great article and report on what the general public needs to know.
    Both the Radical Left and Libertarians are on the same page
    and no surprise as they both believe Radical Islam is not a threat.
    Blame America First is their mantra.
    Ron Paul and like minded support Assange and Manning as does
    Snowden. the list could go on and on with the twin views between
    the Left and Libertarians.
    Some Conservatives need to read articles as this one and others that have been published in the recent days explaining who and what is going on with Snowden who defected to a part of the world controlled by Red China.
    This person may be a hero to the Radical Left and Libertarians but not to
    Americans who understand we are at war. The Boston bombings last month
    should be a reminder.

  • Giles Blyzzard

    All of these ridiculous counter-terrorism programs are silly and totally unnecessary. You want to stop terrorism? Then call it what it is. Islam. Not political Islam, not radical Islam, not Islamism. Islam. And then deal with it. It is a totalitarian political doctrine cloaked in a religion. It’s main goal is the overthrow of the US government and the instillation of an Islamic government in the US. Ban it. Close down all mosques. Ban all immigration from muslim countries Deport all muslims that are not US citizens. That is the only way to save the West.

    As long as we continue on this silly path of refusing to say Islamic jihad and snooping in everybody’s business except the people we should be watching the ridiculously named “War on Terror” will be lost.

    • Steve Fraser

      Correct…we could completely shut down the NSA and we’d be in no greater danger of terrorist attack than we are now.

    • Gary Dickson

      Giles, I agree with you.

      What I also see is the same pattern of the Federal Government over and over again of defining the lawful as guilty and bypassing the unlawful. This started within the IRS and has now spread like a cancer into the rest of the Federal Government. The arrival of Islamists as influences in the Federal Government has made this even worse.

      As for Islam, again, you’re right. Power is all that Islamists understand. The US, both its citizens and its governments, absolutely need to flex their power and might to Islamists as King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella did in 1492.

    • walterewelton

      Giles, you are so correct and on the money that you have just made my day! It is so refreshing to read from someone that actually gets to the basics of today’s problems AND gives remedies at the same time (ban it, close down all mosques, etc.).

      I believe your above statement “that is the only way to save the West”, is one to live by!

    • Marek Stolkoff

      you are aware that christians have committed acts of terrorism in this country, right?

  • spyeatte

    Snowden is not a hero, he is a punk without enough life experience to know what to do. My problem is with the IRS and the DOJ, not with the NSA.

  • trapper

    Snowden has betrayed American secrets and his position. Sorry, he is a traitor by any definition. Just because we might agree with his actions does NOT alter that.

  • edgineer

    If Snowden exposed government wrongdoing he is a hero. The rules are not there to protect violations of our constitutional rights. This one should be decided by the American people, if they are given the facts. The ruling elite can go to hell.

  • ziggy zoggy

    Arnold Ahlert,
    It doesn’t matter if Snowden was right or wrong to blow his whistle, (He was right.) He didn’t blow his whistle to Congress. No, he blew America’s enemies and has been trying to defect to “The People’s Republic” of China ever since. He has not done this to hurt Obama. He has done this to try and prevent any future Republican Administrations from using the illegally gathered data on American citizens as a pretext for war. (Bush lied, people died hysteria.)
    I seriously doubt that most conservatives have such weak values and convictions that ODS causes them to oppose the government tracking and recording all their phone, web and other electronic records.
    Snowden is definitely a traitor for giving aid and comfort to America’s enemies but the Obama NSA is breaking the law. They are NOT using the gathered data to catch terrorists and even if they were it is unconstitutional to monitor all Americans. They are using it to identify and persecute American dissidents.

  • Sandra Lee Smith

    Have you looked at the fact, Mr Ahlert, that the very place MOST likely to be hotbeds of conspiracy at this time and in this nation, are the ONLY place NOT being spied on and tapped??? Perhaps that should shed some light on the situation that you failed to mention. Mosques, which have been tied to numerous terrorist acts or attempted acts are NOT being spied on. Yes, the Chinese and Russians still present a threat too, but the “spying” on American citizens to the exclusions of those who have been consistently the “actors” in the attempts and acts of terrorist violence in recent decades doesn’t represent effort at SECURING America; it’s TYRANNY, pure and simple and THAT is what we’re up in arms about. Yes, revealing capabilities to enemies as well as citizens was a bad move; but keeping the secrets was also a bad move. This appears to me a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation. So much that SHOULD be being done to enhance security is either ignored entirely or done haphazardly. Perhaps too, if you were to investigate the agenda behind what our government and the rest of the world’s governments are doing and why they’re doing it, it would make more sense to you that they ARE spying on the citizens instead of the terrorist organizations!

  • Texas Patriot

    Mr. Ahlert has obviously been in Washington for too long. From the perspective of the veteran Washington politician, the best way to end the “problem” of Islamic terrorism is to look for it everywhere but where it is, and then pretend it’s not there. “What problem? I see no problem.” It’s the evolved political solution to ALL our problems. If we can’t see it, it’s not there!

  • 20pizzapies

    Oh what a joke ! You conservatives will jump on any band wagon- EVEN THAT OF A TRAITOR – due to your Obama Hate Syndrome . LOLOL….
    oh what patriots !! And look ! Ahlert thinks he’s come up with a revelation ! Obama Derangement Syndrome …LOLOLOL…that’s the understatement of the year !

  • 20pizzapies

    But ….but ….but …spit it out you phonies ! Snowden’s a TRAITOR , just like Manning . Wanna blame someone ? Go and Blame EVERYONE who approved and voted for the Patriot Act , and don’t forget Bush , Cheney , and their AG .

  • 20pizzapies

    Hey Alhert , that last paragraph is KILLER . What a pathetic joke ! ” OVER REACH ” ???? YOU PEOPLE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE PROGESSIVES AND LEFTISTS YOU CLAIM TO HATE SO MUCH !

  • Seek

    Good for Ahlert for putting principle above party.