The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 23, 2014

Our View: Obama’s troubling answers

NEW YORK — Washington doublespeak is alive and well thanks to President Barack Obama’s response to the Edward Snowden caper. Doublespeak is language used to deceive through concealment or misrepresentation of truth; the word was coined by George Orwell in his book “1984.”

As we all know by now, Snowden sought asylum in Russia after releasing hundreds of National Security Agency documents supporting his claim that the U.S. government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers, including AT&T, has engaged in illegal surveillance of the domestic communications of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001.  

As the documents released by Snowden continue to pile up, the president has been forced to address the many issues that have been raised. The answers Obama has offered are now under as much scrutiny as the revelations by Snowden. And they should be.

Indeed, the answers given by Obama are troubling. They seem to be at odds with the facts. With conflicting messages, how is a person able to determine the truth? The president says he strongly believes in certain principles but reserves the right not to apply them in difficult situations. If that isn’t Washington doublespeak, we don’t know what is.

Obama claims there have been no abuses by the NSA. He says that in all his reviews of this bulk surveillance program the NSA has not acted inappropriately in the use of this data. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, however, has reprimanded the NSA for abuses both in warrantless surveillance targeting people abroad and in bulk collection of domestic phone records.

In a speech last summer in Germany, Obama said: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”

The record is far less clear. To date, the only suspect the NSA says it has identified using the phone records collection program is a San Diego cab driver later convicted of sending $8,500 to a terrorist group in his homeland of Somalia.

Obama said last summer that the federal government doesn’t have a domestic spying program. In fact, the government has the phone records of most Americans, and, as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court learned in 2011, the NSA continues to gather thousands of domestic emails and phone calls.  

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel, the NSA has a staff of over 40,000 and an operating budget in the billions.

When it comes to the secretive nature of spying, it appears the public wants assurances that we are not returning to an era of McCarthyism, in which accusations of disloyalty, subversion and treason are made without proper regard for evidence.

Memo to the president: Stop the doublespeak and stick to the truth.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Lone holdout

    Missouri continues to be the only state in the United States that won’t allow a prescription drug database to be established.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years

    Does anyone recall the major economic argument during the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore?

    July 22, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Sports