For an important message from its sponsor.
On Thursday President Obama announced he would hire Olivia Pope — oops! wrong genre — he would propose legislation to end the government’s bulk collection of phone call metadata. The President’s announcement came days after the House “Intelligence” Committee unveiled its phone dragnet fix called “End Bulk Collection Act of 2014.”
Even NSA dowager DiFi, with her own potpourris of superfluous non-reforms, bestowed a “worthy effort” upon her comrades.
What’s up? Why the change of heart by the NSA’s most stalwart defenders — oops — overseers? In two words: public relations.
Dutch Ruppersberger, top Democrat on the House panel and devoted NSA groupie, put it this way:
“It’s not about the NSA, that the system we had didn’t work, it’s about the public perception . . . ”
While Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU had this take:
the president is acknowledging that a surveillance program endorsed by all three branches of government, and in place for more than a decade, has not been able to survive public scrutiny. It’s an acknowledgement that the intelligence agencies, the surveillance court and the intelligence committees struck a balance behind closed doors that could not be defended in public.
Beyond packaging, how will the product be affected?
Though Obama’s proposal, predictably, doesn’t go nearly far enough, this much can be said: it’s better than what Ruppersberger and the NSA want. Their bill, while restricting and modifying the phone dragnet, would legalize and arguably expand upon some of the NSA’s most pernicious and promiscuous snooping.
There are alternatives before Congress.
HERE is Spencer Ackerman’s summary of the bills/proposals pending.