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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gail Collins, "Intelligence for Dummies": A Bronx Cheer for Obama from The New York Times

When was the last time Gail Collins wrote a serious op-ed? When was the last time Collins wrote an op-ed critical of the Obama administration? When was the last time I agreed with anything that Collins said? Well, it's happened. The New York Times, under the stewardship of Jill Abramson, is in open revolt against Obama.

In her latest Times op-ed entitled "Intelligence for Dummies" (, Collins writes:

"'Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,' President Obama assured the American people on Friday. Well, probably nobody. And, if they are, it’s under an entirely different part of the program."

Collins is correct. Nobody is listening to your calls unless you say one of the "magic" words . . .

Collins continues:

"'Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?' [Senator Ron Wyden] asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, at a public hearing.

'No sir,' said Clapper."

Okay, Obama lied. Clapper lied. Eric Holder lied. Lois Lerner took the Fifth. Almost everyone in government is busy lying, but why should that prevent the Obama administration from enhancing the omnipresence of an abusive federal government which the president has failed to oversee?

Collins concludes

"I wouldn’t rely on Congress to keep things under control. It’s really up to the president. As a candidate, Obama looked as if he would be great at riding herd on the N.S.A.’s excesses. But if he has ever seriously pushed back on the spy set, it’s been kept a secret. Meanwhile, the administration scarfs up reporters’ e-mails and phone records in its obsessive war against leaks.

And without the leaks to reporters, we would never be having discussions about whether it’s a good idea for the government to collect piles of records about our telephone calls every day.

'I welcome this debate,' Obama said Friday. 'I think it’s healthy for our democracy.' Under further questioning, he said that he definitely didn’t welcome the leaks. Without which, of course, there would be no debate.

Do you remember how enthusiastic people were about having a president who once taught constitutional law? I guess we’ve learned a lesson."

More to the point, Obama also said (see video at:

"Trust me. We're doing the right thing. We know who the bad guys are. And the reason that's not how it works is because we got Congressional oversight and judicial oversight. And if people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here. But my observation is that the people who are involved in America's national security, they take this work very seriously. They cherish our Constitution. The last thing they'd be doing is taking programs like this to listen to somebody's phone calls."

Where to even begin?

Given his friendships with the likes of Erdogan and Putin, I don't think Obama knows who the bad guys are.

As observed by Collins, relatively few in Congress have known what his administration has done, thus preventing Congressional oversight.

And as far as people involved in America's national security "cherishing" the Constitution, many do, yet there are others who would be hard pressed to describe the basic freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Not unlike the IRS, the NSA is an enormous organization, and not everyone there thinks alike. The IRS ran amok under the Obama administration, and the NSA is capable of the same.

Trust you, Mr. President? I don't.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose the new 2BILUSD super-computing NSA facility near completion in Utah could, theoretically, get hacked by Mormons needing just such a facility for the LDS genealogy data.

    As for metadata mining?

    from E.M. Forster, 1909, "The Machine Stops":
    "We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops - but not on our lines. The Machine proceeds - but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die."