Obama Calls for Reforms to NSA Surveillance Programs

Obama Calls for Reforms to NSA Surveillance Programs

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While Obama seeks to curb NSA authority, he insists that surveillance is necessary and a part of the country's history.

President Obama has announced his reforms and plans for NSA intelligence operations in a speech broadcast today. In his speech, Obama said his administration will continue to monitor other governments, and the NSA will need to obtain a court's permission before accessing phone data. That data will also be moved out of the government's hands.

Obama said the NSA program does not examine the phone records of average Americans. He announced he will restrict current NSA data collection efforts that collect information beyond an individual target.

US intelligence agencies will also face sharper restrictions on eavesdropping on leaders of foreign allies

The NSA's aggressive practices of surveillance do not abuse its authority, Obama said, and these policies are necessary to national security. Surveillance has been a part of the United States' activities since its independence from the United Kingdom, the president said. He pointed to Paul Revere as an example of surveillance that aided the country. Sustained intelligence gathering has grown out of necessity over concerns over the spread of nuclear weapons.

Obama was critical of wiretaps without warrants when he served as a US Senator, but he says surveillance is necessary in conducting foreign policy. The president, the director of the NSA, and the attorney general will annually review their policies to regularly scrutinize their work. Currently, the NSA follows all protocols and does not abuse the law, according to the president.

The NSA does not listen in to private phone calls or emails, he continued. Data on the length of calls, numbers, and the time the phone calls take place comprise the majority of telephone records.

Regarding Edward Snowden, ex-NSA contractor who leaked many details about the NSA's activities, the president said he will not "dwell on Mr. Snowden's actions or motivations."

"I will say that our nation's defense depends in part on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation's secrets," he elaborated. "If any individual who objects to government policy can take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will never be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy. Moreover, the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light, while revealing methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come."

Moving forward, Obama will establish a panel of advocates outside of government. This panel will ask the attorney general and the NSA director to institute reforms. He is also willing to work with Congress on the matter. He hopes that his review will give Americans "greater confidence their rights are being protected."

"More work will be needed in the future," he concluded. "This debate will make us strong. In this time of change, the United States of America will have to lead."

Source: BBC

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So basically, he just said to the entire world, "Hey other countries! We're still gonna be spying on you!" Granted, this reform is a step in the right direction (if he's telling the truth) but this feels kinda half assed. A warrant will be needed? Good. That's, you know, the way it's fucking SUPPOSED to be. And it's part of our history? Um...pardon me Mr. President...when has that ever been a good fucking justification for fucking ANYTHING!?

Oh, and in this time of change, America will have to lead? Is that why Germany had to FORCE you to stop being such dicks? Let's face it Barrack, the US isn't exactly a shining paragon of example that the rest of the world is trying to follow.

About a year late and a billion dollars short there, Mr. President. Honestly, this man is an embarrassment to the Oval Office.

As a side-note, I wonder what provisions are being made for the NSA's new surveillance partnership with Microsoft? Y'know, what with their several million Kinect spycams now safely embedded in homes across the country.

Yeah, only AFTER all these leaks were released.

If Edward S. hadn't exposed him, and these programs, this crap would STILL be going on without him caring and getting WORSE.

In his speech, Obama said his administration will continue to monitor other governments

such as who exactly?

Data on the length of calls, numbers, and the time the phone calls take place comprise the majority of telephone records.

I've not put a whole heap of thought into it but how does that help? "we know somebody called somebody else at midnight for 20 minutes and that is all we know" ..."are they criminals, terrorists or something?" ... "I don't know, all I know is that it happened!". (I know it says "majority")

I don't mean to generalize or attack any American's but this is one reason why I think American's are paranoid!

"If any individual who objects to government policy can take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will never be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy."

"We will never be able to keep our people safe" ... try not starting wars and maybe other countries people will be less likely to want to kill your people!

I'm reminded of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her mom had just died, and the doctor was explaining how and how she didn't suffer, but all Buffy hears is "I'm lying to make you feel better.".

This is nothing against the President personally; I feel a certain amount of hypocracy is a requirement for politicians. Not that they should, but you'd probably wouldn't last long as a politician if you didn't say one thing and then do the other.

Likely the NSA will continue to do what it's been doing, but they'll try to be more selective of who has access to confidential information.

These things are only going to stop when we make them. There's no incentive for them to stop when it's so easy for them to placate us.

Just like he called for the closing of Guantanamo. Just like he called for the lobbyists to be booted out of Washington. Just like he called for a free and open internet to be upheld. Just like how he called for an end to the senseless wars this nation is embroiled in.

All of which he has not done. Honestly, why are we still expecting anything of this guy? He is at worst a liar and guilty by compliance with the biggest criminals in this country, or at best a moral coward who refuses to actually stand up for what he said he did because of the money and whatever other influences said criminals hold over this country.

Nothing will come of this.

omega 616:

I don't mean to generalize or attack any American's but this is one reason why I think American's are paranoid! [q

Yeah, to be perfectly honest, that's a stereotype that frankly I just can't criticize people for thinking considering all this shit that's going on.

roseofbattle:
Obama will establish a panel of advocates outside of government. This panel will ask the attorney general and the NSA director to institute reforms. He is also willing to work with Congress on the matter. He hopes that his review will give Americans "greater confidence their rights are being protected."

Hoookay, so it's really just business as usual then, with no actual reforms in the pipe? What a shock.

roseofbattle:

"This debate will make us strong. In this time of change, the United States of America will have to lead."

Oh 'Bama, you so silly. Even though you talk so pretty.

he insists that surveillance is necessary and a part of the country's history

Just like racism, slavery and genocide. I guess the US government are allowed to do those things too.

Currently, the NSA follows all protocols and does not abuse the law, according to the president.

It's just a shame that they often don't. There were people at the NSA using their powers to spy on their loved ones. A small number (12 that they admit to) but it makes you wonder how many people get away with it and what else they are doing illegally.

Plus even if any of this is true and will actually happen it does nothing to address the issue of the 'States shitting on the privacy of the rest of the world. Which does more damage to diplomacy than people revealing your secrets.

Shit I missed a line ...

"More work will be needed in the future," he concluded. "This debate will make us strong. In this time of change, the United States of America will have to lead."

Somebody either has a superiority complex or a major case of patriotic arrogance/megalomania. Will have to lead (what I assume to be) the rest of the world to where?

America is now an idyllic haven that the rest of humanity should aspire to be like and only America can show us the way!

So we're supposed to trust the politicians, the government and intelligence agencies? How obvious is it that he's just trying to placate people? And the worst thing is, the majority will swallow it up because he just told them what they wanted to hear. You can go back to your homes. There's no police state in the US. Freedom for everyone. Even you.

"i will not comment on mr Snowden" So you will not address the whistle blower.... The only reason you are talking about this.... And then you go on to DIRECTLY contradict the evidence he presented of illegal spying on your won citizens.... Wow what a fucking moron. Does anyone even believe the shit he says anymore?

I have dealt with security from all over Europe, cops that take your ticket money and put it in their pocket, corrupt officials and seen a few things I wish I hadn't. Our countries are far from perfect.

But nothing has had me more worried than the total paranoia of a US airport and the populace in general. When I walked on Hoover Dam, I had my face covered due to sunburn and people were looking at me like I was a terrorist (probably because there was a sign that said "report suspicious activity" and there were guards everywhere).

When shit hits the fan one day and it goes beyond third world countries, you just know USA will be in the middle of it and won't care who else it affects. The way US citizens practically hand over their rights is just.. scary.

National security my ass.

erttheking:
So basically, he just said to the entire world, "Hey other countries! We're still gonna be spying on you!" Granted, this reform is a step in the right direction (if he's telling the truth) but this feels kinda half assed. A warrant will be needed? Good. That's, you know, the way it's fucking SUPPOSED to be. And it's part of our history? Um...pardon me Mr. President...when has that ever been a good fucking justification for fucking ANYTHING!?

Oh, and in this time of change, America will have to lead? Is that why Germany had to FORCE you to stop being such dicks? Let's face it Barrack, the US isn't exactly a shining paragon of example that the rest of the world is trying to follow.

Lets not forget that Snowden, the guy he just shit on, is the reason he was forced to make these concessions in the first place. It wasn't out of the kindness of his heart. It's sad it took this long to force him to do what he was expected to do from the beginning.

It's still a step in the right direction, even if I don't fully trust Obama. Someone like McCain wouldn't have even given us this much.

Smilomaniac:
I have dealt with security from all over Europe, cops that take your ticket money and put it in their pocket, corrupt officials and seen a few things I wish I hadn't. Our countries are far from perfect.

But nothing has had me more worried than the total paranoia of a US airport and the populace in general. When I walked on Hoover Dam, I had my face covered due to sunburn and people were looking at me like I was a terrorist (probably because there was a sign that said "report suspicious activity" and there were guards everywhere).

When shit hits the fan one day and it goes beyond third world countries, you just know USA will be in the middle of it and won't care who else it affects. The way US citizens practically hand over their rights is just.. scary.

National security my ass.

To be fair a lot of us aren't happy about this either, it's a very ugly situation. A lot of our senators are fighting over this now. Where I live the paranoia isn't bad at all, but if you go to Washington It's completely out of control. Soldiers with sub machine guns patrol the streets and train stations all hours of the day, and there are overwhelming amounts of propaganda and sign warning about the "dangers of terrorism." Honestly, it feels like we're being conditioned.

First, everyone is spying on everyone else. All the non-Americans out there can sit on their high horses all they want. The main difference is that America and it's citizens are not OK with the prospect where many other countries have gotten used to their intrusive governments. Also, just because you're country doesn't admit that it spies on foreign people, that doesn't actually mean they don't.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way:
Better fuckin' rethink that. Spying on everyone is NOT OK. I'll take my chances getting killed by "terrorists" rather than have some idiot who works for the government looking over my shoulder all the time. It's rather annoying how any president can sit there and say that a lot of this stuff is OK. It's like I said, him and GWB are not different from each other. And the fact that he is OK with it just proves that point. The laws regarding wiretapping and surveillance are there to protect honest law abiding citizens, and just throwing them out as you see fit is not OK, certainly not good.

Fuck you Obama, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

More and more I'm beginning to believe that the only way to rid the U.S. of these bass-ackwards fossils is a full-on revolution, or at the very least an entire government-wide coup. The current leaders of the US clearly fancy themselves the untouchable overlords of the populace what with their methodical snuffing out of rights that all should have while keeping the people distracted and blind to their sickening actions, the worst of which being denial of information.

Shit's going to get real ugly in the U.S. sooner or later, be it the government dropping all pretense of democracy and officially becoming a full-on police state that bends to the every whim of the corporations that line their pockets with dirty money, or the people rebelling upon realizing where the government intends to take their "leadership" *(and make you no mistake, if any civilian populace ever had the means or will to engage their government in a full-on armed rebellion, it is the assault rifle and high-powered mil-spec sniper rifle armed citizens of the United States of America), yet regardless of how it plays out, the ones that will suffer the most won't be these self-absorbed pieces of human trash that will in all likelihood flee the country and simply buy their way into a nation that would be happy to accept their filthy money, it will be the common civilian, you, your family, your neighbours, your countrymen, that will suffer the consequences of the government's actions.

If all of this ends without bloodshed to some degree, I will be so shocked that my head might very well a-splode into a billion pieces.

However, regardless of how this all will wind up playing out, I have no doubts in my mind that the United States of America will remain a free land, even if it ultimately takes on another name.

I think I'll end my mini-rant with a rather poignant quote from one of my favourate video games that comes to mind every time I sit down and think of the U.S. to any degree.

"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

So your going to continue with surveillance because its tradition? That has got to be the shittiest reason for it that I've ever heard.

"If any individual who objects to government policy can take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will never be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy. Moreover, the sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light, while revealing methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come."

If government lacks transparency so much that it would consider such data as classified you are never going to be able to keep your people safe anyway. Such information should have never been classified to begin with and any attempts to do so will only make your country worse.

erttheking:
Is that why Germany had to FORCE you to stop being such dicks?

speaking as a german, i didn't see us "forcing" anyone. our "Interior Minister" (thank you google translator) got mocked for his way of dealing with the whole situation. basically he went to th US came back and said "see guys? they told me they would never do it again...seriously you guys" few days later he went on to say it wasn't that big of a deal anyway.
thanks for doing your job the worst way possible motherf!!!!!

still i love how it's about security and "oh gawd dem terrorists" yeah i bet merkel was going to crash a plane into a building so good job listening in on her cellphone.

and by the way "part of our history" ha..ha...ha...ok let's play by those rules

germany history is starting world wars.
slavery is part of history in many countries.
cannibalism is history in regions.

let's just put those back into place i mean come on you guys we always did it why stop now!?

I sort of stopped believing in what he said a year back..

The man spent a whole crap load of tax payer's money to take his family out to a fancy vacation- almost immediately after becoming President. He also caused the USA to become way more in debt (feel free to say otherwise, because I may not hear everything correctly when it comes to politics).

Anyhow, I do not hate Obama. Rather, I feel he's taking the wrong approach towards everything. Spying on other nations won't help you gain friendships man. It's bad enough when my country forces it's democracy on everything but to even admit that 'spying on our citizens and the world is what keeps people safe' ... noooooo man... just, nooo...

That would be like if me (USA) and a good friend of mine (the UK) were just chatting at the cafeteria and right when he goes to use the bathroom, I search through his entire backpack and hack his laptop for all personal photos, documents, and essays he did. When he comes back and catches me, am I suppose to say, "Oh, it was to protect everyone else here at work in case you were to be a terrorist." ... Please.

Fox12:
...if you go to Washington It's completely out of control. Soldiers with sub machine guns patrol the streets and train stations all hours of the day, and there are overwhelming amounts of propaganda and sign warning about the "dangers of terrorism."

Are you serious? Is it really that bad?

What the actual fuck? Is our definition of privacy and freedom outdated? What would happen, once the USA stopped their surveillance of everyone on the planet?
The way Obama puts it it seems like they are constantly averting an otherwise unavoidable nuclear apocalypse, brought onto us by evil terrorists. Either they should disclose the threat they are battling, or they should stop feeding us bullshit and admit that all this is to control their own people.
This is a decision out of fear, the fear to lose control. Fear is never a good advisor in decision making.

Regarding what he said about the extend of the surveillance being lowered, I don't think that this is how the data mining works the NSA is conducting. They are not reading each eMail individually and they are not listening to every phonecall, but everything gets filtered by algorithms and checked for keywords, phrases and thelike. So they are technically not "looking" at everything, but in a way they do nontheless.

nuttshell:

Fox12:
...if you go to Washington It's completely out of control. Soldiers with sub machine guns patrol the streets and train stations all hours of the day, and there are overwhelming amounts of propaganda and sign warning about the "dangers of terrorism."

Are you serious? Is it really that bad?

Keep in mind I live in the South (yes yes, go ahead and get the jokes out of the way) so I hadn't expected it to be like that. It's certainly not like that in most places, but in Washington it's surprisingly common. I've never even seen an armed soldier in civilian public, so seeing sub machine gun carrying men everywhere was a surprise. Some of the men were okay, a few were even friendly, but it definitely felt like something was hanging over my head the whole time. Maybe people living in Washington are used to it, but I haven't seen it like that in any of the places I've ever visited, inside the U.S. or outside. I wonder if London and Paris do this in their capitals...

Unfortunately the U.S. is rather paranoid right now, especially the older generations. My generation has grown up with terrorism, so I don't think we're scared of them.

Fox12:
snip

Well, you have my sympathy, for what it's worth.

Slash2x:
"i will not comment on mr Snowden" So you will not address the whistle blower.... The only reason you are talking about this.... And then you go on to DIRECTLY contradict the evidence he presented of illegal spying on your won citizens.... Wow what a fucking moron. Does anyone even believe the shit he says anymore?

The sad thing is, yes they do. There are a still a lot of democrats who just cannot bring themselves to admit that Obama is a massive hypocrite and liar. Obama took the surveillance program Bush and Cheney set up and expanded on it because he wanted to. He is not liberal, he is not progressive. At best, he is slightly left of what currently constitutes republican, at least on social issues. When it comes to economics and corporate issues he's mostly in agreement with the conservative establishment. He wants to cut taxes on the wealthy, he wants to lessen regulations on the banks, and he wants to cut social programs to help pay for those tax cuts and the out-of-control spending of the Department of Defense.

Even his healthcare law, the thing he brags about every chance he gets, is based on a republican law originally thought up by the Heritage Foundation (a large republican think-tank). In fact, there are starting to be reports coming out now that while he was campaigning for the law, he was actively trying to sabotage the single-payer portion that was originally a part of it (before all the talks of 'death-panels' derailed that debate into idiocy and the single-payer option got cut). A healthcare law with an individual mandate, but without a public option, is just one big handout to the insurance companies, in the end.

Even with Obama giving lip-service to the idea of 'reforming' his surveillance program... I still wouldn't let myself get caught out in any wide-open, witlessness places if I were Edward Snowden. One thing Obama has shown himself to hate more than anything are leaks. Especially leaks that make him look bad. He's charged people with the Espionage Act literally more times than all the other presidents combined. The fact that the NDAA allows him to execute US citizens abroad without a trial is also especially worrying in Snowden's particular case.

rcs619:

The sad thing is, yes they do. There are a still a lot of democrats who just cannot bring themselves to admit that Obama is a massive hypocrite and liar. Obama took the surveillance program Bush and Cheney set up and expanded on it because he wanted to. He is not liberal, he is not progressive. At best, he is slightly left of what currently constitutes republican, at least on social issues. When it comes to economics and corporate issues he's mostly in agreement with the conservative establishment. He wants to cut taxes on the wealthy, he wants to lessen regulations on the banks, and he wants to cut social programs to help pay for those tax cuts and the out-of-control spending of the Department of Defense.

Even his healthcare law, the thing he brags about every chance he gets, is based on a republican law originally thought up by the Heritage Foundation (a large republican think-tank). In fact, there are starting to be reports coming out now that while he was campaigning for the law, he was actively trying to sabotage the single-payer portion that was originally a part of it (before all the talks of 'death-panels' derailed that debate into idiocy and the single-payer option got cut). A healthcare law with an individual mandate, but without a public option, is just one big handout to the insurance companies, in the end.

Even with Obama giving lip-service to the idea of 'reforming' his surveillance program... I still wouldn't let myself get caught out in any wide-open, witlessness places if I were Edward Snowden. One thing Obama has shown himself to hate more than anything are leaks. Especially leaks that make him look bad. He's charged people with the Espionage Act literally more times than all the other presidents combined. The fact that the NDAA allows him to execute US citizens abroad without a trial is also especially worrying in Snowden's particular case.

It's a worrying signal of poor health of a political system that people of such integrity can get this far. (and don't get me wrong; it's not like there are any good examples of idyllic politics in the vast majority of countries these days. Hell; exhaustively covering every act of recklessness, narcissism, skull-duggery, bullying, entitlement, corruption and treason of the UK's last Labour government could stretch out to a duration equivalent to the 13 years they were in power) And I recently heard about a prominent Republican bloke who got exposed for causing significant public disruption over petty political feuds, so the immediate outlook in the wider field also appears bleak.

 

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