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President Obama addresses PRISM, telephone monitoring program leaks

updated 05:55 pm EDT, Fri June 7, 2013

Program called necessary, fully vetted by elected officials

President Obama has taken the national stage in defense of the leaked PRISM and telephone surveillance programs, calling the telephony effort "authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006" with elected officials "consistently informed on exactly what we're doing." He was circumspect with remarks about Prism, telling US citizens that the effort does not apply, and also calling it fully approved, and supervised by the FISA court.

Going into a little more detail in a journalist question and answer session after a healthcare brief in California, the President claimed that Prism and the telephone monitoring are "two programs that were originally authorized by Congress; have been repeatedly authorized by Congress; bipartisan majorities have approved them; Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted; there are a whole range of safeguards involved; and federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout."

President Obama noted that he knew about the program when he was a senator, and critized broad government surveillance. He said that "I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them, we scrubbed them thoroughly, we actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards. But my assessment, and my team's assessment, was that they helped us prevent terrorist attacks. And the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and without looking at content -- that on net, was worth us doing. Some other folks may have a different assessment of that."

Addressing the fact that both highly classified programs became known through leaks, the President said that "Because there's a reason why these programs are classified ... if every step that we're taking to try and prevent a terrorist act is on the front page of the newspapers or on television, then presumably the people trying to do us harm are going to be able to get around our preventive measures. That's why these things are classified."

Over the course of the day, Google CEO Larry Page joined the search engine's chief legal officer and continued the vigorous denial of Google's participation in any email surveillance program by the US Government. A blog post by the pair entitled "What the...?" claimed that Google has "not joined any program that would give the U.S. government--or any other government--direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a 'back door' to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday."

Google may suffer a credibility gap about data release -- the company failed to disclose Google Street View vans capturing Wi-Fi data as rounds were made even after it discovered the problem internally, calling the capture inadvertent by old code when finally forced to disclose the capture. Additionally, public disclosure of knowledge of a classified program regardless of prior leak is potentially prosecutable under a variety of laws, so denials by technology companies may be in question.




By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Though I strongly disagree with the President on this, I must admit is refreshing to see a politician actually own up to *changing his mind when presented with new facts* on something. Hopefully THAT part will catch on as a trend.

  1. bobolicious

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-15-02

    Is this entirely unexpected?

    Facebook CIA connection
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGdWsxHJlM

    Facebook CIA Project: The Onion News Network
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqggW08BWO0

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by boboliciousView Post

    Facebook CIA Project: The Onion News Network
    Facebook CIA Project: The Onion News Network - YouTube



    You do realize that The Onion is SATIRE, right?

    They're way too good at it, and have been quoted as "news" countless times in the past ten years, but NOTHING on their site is true beyond in the allegorical/hyperbolic sense.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-23-02

    It's somebody else's fault. If this had come out during Bush's term, the libs would have been screaming.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 07-16-04

    There is nothing refreshing about this. Any president would have to come out and give a statement about it. This is simply damage control. Obama's appearance in front of the media is just standard operating procedure.

  1. Flying Meat

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Mr. Strat. Please be aware that many libs are not okay with this at all. Some are quite disheartened over the "Yes we can" president's inability to do what is right. He is not alone in that inability, but...

    I'm pretty disappointed myself. You could easily find "screaming" lefties, so you're not really paying attention. The rest of us are attempting reasoned debate without the rhetoric or partisan crap some like to throw around.

  1. bobolicious

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-15-02

    'You do realize that The Onion is SATIRE, right?'
    But of course, and I have heard it said 'there is usually a little truth in all humor...'

  1. lpkmckenna

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 07-04-04

    Originally Posted by Mr. StratView Post

    It's somebody else's fault. If this had come out during Bush's term, the libs would have been screaming.

    The libs are screaming. The whole story was uncovered by Glenn Greenwald, the libiest lib who ever lib'd.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    ACTUAL libs have been screaming about Obama for quite some time, because in pretty much every way he is an arch-conservative. (He wants to dispose of Medicare and Social Security, he cuts the domestic budget but rubber-stamps increases for the military, in practice he has been terribly anti-immigrant, he's started extra wars while fighting to avoid ending the ones we were already in -- including trying very hard NOT to withdraw troops from Iraq, although he eventually had to give up.) This is merely the latest disclosure of Obama working from the Bush playbook. But, of course, most Democrats have no clue that they're being had, just as most Republicans have no clue that Obama has done more for their side than Bush did.

    Americans are increasingly so incredibly stupid about politics that I'd start to think they deserve what's coming to the them as a result of stuff like this -- except that I'm one myself.

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