Much ado about nothing–so the wisdom goes about the President’s press conference today on our intelligence collection efforts, both foreign and domestic . . .
As the Bloomberg review on television said, even before it happened, no president holds a press conference the week before the State of the Union address on any subject that he finds substantive (he would save that for the State of the Union address . . .). He only held this press conference because people have been pushing him to say something on the subject.
So, with that in mind, let’s see what was not said. There is no push from the president nor is there an executive order stating that NSA must leave networks of phone contacts, telephone metadata and content, etc. at the respective telephone companies, retrieving it, when necessary, via a warrant.
And why would that matter, one might ask?
Because private companies are not usually easy to use to punish one’s political enemies, whereas the Defense Department, which belongs to the executive branch of our government, could very well be used in this way.
And if that seems okay to you because, after all, your party is currently in power, think about when they are not. Do you seriously want to have to worry all the rest of your life about political payback via the revealing of phone records, patterns of calls, and content of calls?
Even those of us who think extramarital affairs and other sneaky things are reprehensible do not really wish to live in a place where political enemies are brought down, not by bad legislation, but by being followed via phone records till they slip up somewhere!
Can you say police state?
And, yes, I am aware of this having been done in the past, for example, when the FBI followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. around.
But the past didn’t have our technology, able to account for every moment of someone’s day in great detail.
Oh, brave new world!