Obama Addresses NSA Surveillance Issues

President Obama held a press conference today on NSA surveillance and released two documents concerning the program. They are combined here:

  • Pages 1 to 23: A legal memorandum explaining the Government’s legal basis for an intelligence collection program under which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtains court orders directing certain telecommunications service providers to produce telephony metadata in bulk.
  • Pages 24 to 30: NSA on Legal Authorities: a seven-page document describing the legal authorities that the agency uses as the basis for its spying, the controls that are in place to limit the surveillance and a brief description of what guides the agency’s use of what they call signals intelligence.


President Obama also announced two actions:

Among other steps, Mr. Obama announced the creation of a high-level task force of outside intelligence and civil liberties specialists to advise the government about how to balance security and privacy as computer technology makes it possible to gather ever more information about people’s private lives.

The president also threw his administration’s support behind a proposal to change the procedures of the secret court that approves electronic spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to make its deliberations more adversarial. The court, created in 1978, was initially envisioned to carry out a limited role of reviewing whether there was sufficient evidence to wiretap someone as a suspected foreign terrorist or spy.

At his press conference, President Obama promised greater oversight, transparency, and constraint on the use of the NSA surveillance authority. He intends to work with Congress on Patriot Act reforms. Another promise:

Appointment of a civil liberties and privacy advocate to argue cases and challenge the government's position before the court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The advocate position is designed to push back on government applications for warrants on telephone and/or Internet communications.

As the AP notes, Obama's presser was to appease the public not rein in the NSA surveillance program which will continue.
President Barack Obama made it clear Friday he has no intention of stopping the daily collection of American phone records. And while he offered "appropriate reforms," he blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.
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    Sherlock speaks: (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 05:44:22 PM EST
    (Obama) blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.

    Strange how facts about how untrustworthy the government can be can create distrust.

    His cabin (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:42:46 PM EST
    isn't pressurized.

    Obama said he welcomed the debate, but his national security team also said it never intended to tell Americans about the highly classified phone program, which it falsely denied existed.

    I have always wondered why everyone ignored (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:15:10 PM EST
    Tice, I suppose because his story was so horrific nobody wanted to believe it.  I see he has given Sibel Edmunds an interview.  Basically reiterates everything he already revealed.  Some have wondered why Snowden revealed his identity, I tend to think that if we could so easily ignore those who came before him it was likely some anonymous leak would get about as much attention.

    I listened to the Tice interview (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:18:38 PM EST
    a few weeks ago. It's pretty stunning. And the major news media has mostly ignored him, except for PBS, which had him and Binney on with Judy Woodruff a couple weeks ago.

    Thanks Shoephone... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:22:39 PM EST
    I don't believe we are being told everything.  The massive infrastructure is not needed to gather metadata.  We will always have the opportunity for abuse, but if volumes of actual calls are being captured, abuse becomes too simple.  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/08/ex-nsa-analysts.html  Here is the interview.

    pretty curtains on the blockhouse windows (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:59:19 AM EST
    Pierce captures my take, so I'll let him speak for me.

    Otherwise, the president's proposals are about as far as any president is likely to go in our lifetimes. The FISA process is a mess, its purpose completely twisted from the original, which was supposed to guard people against programs like the ones the NSA has been running. The FISA court now serves only as another vehicle for the metastasizing secrecy within which the mischief gets done. Having someone come into a secret court proceeding and argue against the government's case for a secret warrant based on secret evidence, and then (probably) making sure that the case against the warrant is classified, too, doesn't get us very far out of the rabbit hole. And the "privacy officer" at the NSA is going to be the loneliest person in Washington. One thing that we know now, and we know it because of Edward Snowden, International Man Of Luggage, is that the surveillance state is a permanent factor in our lives. Hanging pretty curtains on the blockhouse windows doesn't really help very much. link

    I didn't see the presser, but I have (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 09:21:52 AM EST
    seen clips, read the transcript, and have read various reactions to Obama's remarks, including comments here.

    I guess the question I always end up having is, how stupid does he think we are?  And the answer is - big surprise - he must think we're very, very stupid.  Plus, he knows the media won't question the disconnect between what he's saying and what he's done or is doing, and will present his answers and comments as if there is nothing about them that doesn't make sense.

    And then, there's the timing - nothing like a Friday afternoon in summer to guarantee the fewest eyes and ears to pay attention to it, right?

    From the transcript:

    As I said at the National Defense University back in May, in meeting those threats, we have to strike the right balance between protecting our security and preserving our freedoms. And as part of this rebalancing I called for a review of our surveillance programs. Unfortunately, rather than an orderly and lawful process to debate these issues and come up with appropriate reforms, repeated leaks of classified information have initiated the debate in a very passionate but not always fully informed way.

    Now, keep in mind that as a senator, I expressed a healthy skepticism about these programs. And as president, I've taken steps to make sure that they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people. But given the history of abuse by governments, it's right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives.

    Okay, so we're supposed to believe that the real problem is that our reaction to the revelations of massive spying and data collection programs has not been objective enough.  No, wait, the real problem is that the information was leaked in the first place - that's what we should be concerned about.  No, wait, the real problem is that we've mistakenly thought we could contribute something to the debate, but we don't really know enough - we're not fully informed - so we should just shut up and let these dedicated public servants get back to the business of keeping us safe.

    As to that second paragraph, how the entire press corps did not, as one, stand up and yell "BULLSH!T" is beyond me, but that's okay, because the rest of us still know it when we see it.  And it's not just BS, it's utter BS.

    What followed that part of the remarks was in the same category.  Utter BS, delivered with the unmitigated gall of a president who believes in the essential gullibility and basic stupidity of the American people.

    So, fk him.  Really, why waste any more time deconstructing the current president's love of power?  What we need to do is figure out how to stop this runaway train, and that more than anything is what has me stumped.  All the usual stuff that we've been doing for years doesn't seem to be having any impact.  The calls, the letters, the e-mails, the letters to the editor aren't enough.

    I'd say, "take to the streets," but that's just so messy, and what about our jobs and golly, the new TV season is starting, and oh, football and the World Series and then, the holidays and Christmas shopping.  How can we be out in the streets and still live the lives we love so much?

    I guess the lives we love so much haven't been threatened enough yet...plus we can admit, can't we, that we're all a teensy, eensy bit afraid now that such overt and disruptive actions might make us disappear?  Maybe not permanently, but long enough to make us think twice.

    Ain't no revolutions happening here anytime soon, and that's why Obama can stand at the podium and spout BS, and the press can dutifully record and disseminate it.  And way too many people can pretend it's good enough to eat with a spoon.


    But that's the 'national conversation' we (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:48:17 PM EST
    were promised.

    Obama lectures - and the NSA listens.


    The takeaway: he blames leaks for distrust (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:30:47 PM EST
    - priceless.

    "I am not..." (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:12:17 PM EST
    He might as well have been addressing... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Dadler on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 02:38:25 AM EST
    ...a friggin' envelope, for all the "change" it will usher in. Not even compelling theatre.

    Who knew he was an einstein (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 04:53:56 AM EST
    and a genius at making equations?

    Hyperventilating surveillance critics aren't the only ones who don't measure up to presidential stature, Obama said. The Republicans still opposed to Obamacare are "not backed by fact, not backed by any evidence," acting petulant and irresponsible as they threaten him with a government shutdown.

    "Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail," Obama mused. "Their number-one priority."

    And anyone who thinks he's run into trouble with Vladimir Putin doesn't get international relations. Reporters, as he's suggested before, are small-minded simpletons, and read too much into the fact that the Russian president sometimes acts like a child.

    -- Barack Obama: If only you understood

    All you 'bama hatin' surveillance critics just gotta stop acting like obama's wife, or like (gasp) republicans, or small minded simpletons, or children and "Get off my case! You just don't know a good thing when you got it" - bam

    "... the Russian president (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Nemi on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:32:04 AM EST
    sometimes acts like a child."

    Could that be, like, ahem ... some kind of projection ?

    Nah. ;-)


    Senators Ron Wyden on Obama's (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:46:55 AM EST
    speech. After praising the president for proposing a civil liberties advocate for the FISC he went on to say:

    The President also stated that he would support reforms to section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which is the provision of the law that has been secretly interpreted to allow the government to engage in the bulk collection of Americans' records.  I have seen absolutely zero evidence that the bulk collection of Americans' phone records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act has provided any unique value to intelligence gathering or actually made Americans any safer, so I believe that these reforms should ensure that bulk collection is ended.
    Notably absent from President Obama's speech was any mention of closing the backdoor searches loophole that potentially allows for the warrantless searches of Americans' phone calls and emails under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  I believe that this provision requires significant reforms as well and I will continue to fight to close that loophole. I am also concerned that the executive branch has not fully acknowledged the extent to which violations of FISC orders and the spirit of the law have already had a significant impact on Americans' privacy. link

    Ron Wyden has been so outspoken (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 09:26:08 AM EST
    that I wonder sometimes if he isn't deliberately testing the limits of the law that prevents him from revealing classified information.

    And it wouldn't surprise me if there aren't a pack of lawyers somewhere feverishly looking for proof that he's in violation of the law so they can shut him up.


    Ezra Klein has this to say (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:01:25 AM EST
    The fact that Obama is still attacking Snowden is simply ridiculous.

    What makes us different from other countries is not simply our ability to secure our nation," Obama said. "It's the way we do it, with open debate and democratic process."

    If that's so, then Edward Snowden should be hailed as a hero. There's simply no doubt that his leaks led to more open debate and more democratic process than would've existed otherwise.
    But the White House could have led that thoughtful, fact-based debate, and despite Obama's protestations to the contrary, they didn't. They prevented it. If this conversation, and these reforms, are as positive for the country as Obama says they are, then it's hard to escape the conclusion that Snowden did the country a real service -- even if the White House can't abide crediting him with it.
     Edward Snowden, patriot...

    Let's face it: Obama's still trying to (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:15:42 AM EST
    close the barn doors that Edward Snowden blew open.  The barn doors that never would have been opened otherwise.

    And Obama's trying to convince us that his - Obamas's - announcements and pronouncements are all we need in the way of open debate - that this is all the democratic process he thinks is necessary.

    Does anyone really think the person who decided even before he was president that FISA needed reauthorizing was going to initiate open debate about any of this stuff?

    That James Clapper and Keith Alexander are still in charge - that they were put in their respective positions in the first place - tells me all I need to know about the kabuki of Obama's "open debate and democratic process."


    Alexander the Geek's empire (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:32:57 AM EST
    The Secret War, by James Bamford
    This is the undisputed domain of General Keith Alexander, a man few even in Washington would likely recognize. Never before has anyone in America's intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world's largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy's 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.

    It's very worrisome (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:25:14 AM EST
    I do not understand how ANYONE can't see that as all this exists at this time, disaster looms.  It has become a fiefdom. There is no oversight.  Who is watching the watchers?  NOBODY!  It cannot be permitted in a way that we all understand we are told.

    Obama is making another wounded warrior speech right now which surprises me because he just did Pendleton.  We watched it live.  And it isn't that I don't appreciate it because I do, but he has been on a military tour lately.  Is it to better prepare us all for draw down, or is it a PR cheering crowd securing the nation tour in the wake of the NSA scandal?


    The more desperate they get (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:42:52 AM EST
    the more sandbagging they do, I guess.

    None of if is to "protect the country". They may not be very bright, but they aren't completely stupid. It's all to protect them.


    When Erza Klein is calling (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:06:28 AM EST
    bullsh!t on "Obamas's - announcements and pronouncements" you know that only Obama's diehards (refer back to Bush's diehards) are willing to deny what is going on.

    They're in damage control mode now (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:14:39 AM EST
    The damage to obama's reputation from all the damage obama has caused must be countered. It would be horrible if a republican took back the white house and continued obama's damaging policies.

    Well, he wanted a legacy... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:50:28 PM EST
    Does this count?

    Maybe it'll be (none / 0) (#56)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 06:28:54 AM EST
    one count on the indictment?

    So proud of my Senator, Ron Wyden... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Cashmere on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 02:15:48 PM EST
    He is the best ...

    digby has two worthwhile posts (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:56:18 AM EST
    on this subject.

    Backdoor secrets of many varieties

    The National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens' email and phone calls without a warrant, according to a top-secret document passed to the Guardian by Edward Snowden.

    And this: If only we had waited for that review board ...

    which have excerpts from various people debunking the idea that the Obama administration had any interest in subjecting the NSA to meaningful oversight prior to Snowden's disclosures and also challenging the President's that Snowden had any the whistle blower protection.

    Saying it's legal... (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by kdog on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:44:49 PM EST
    don't make it right, Boss.  

    A lot of things that used to be illegal (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 01:38:15 PM EST
    Before 9/11 are now somehow magically legal.  How does that happen?  I mean, I'm truly interested in seeing, reading, and hearing all this.  And if this is a democracy, how can it be legal but I can't know or understand exactly how it is legal?

    Not really (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by gaf on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 01:26:55 PM EST
    Obama Addresses NSA Surveillance Issues

    Not really. Obama skates around NSA Surveillance Issues would have been a better title.

    The White Paper was (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:52:47 PM EST
    an up to now secret legal opinion that Obama has now leaked.

    I guess he'll be surfacing in Hong Kong next, on his way to asking Putin for asylum?

    When pressed on why the reforms, (4.50 / 8) (#3)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 07:22:51 PM EST
    he said it's to make us feel "more comfortable." He said he thinks there is sufficient oversight and there haven't ben any abuses.

    He's full of it.

    Even if there haven't been abuses (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 11:02:07 PM EST
    ( Highly doubtful when info has surfaced that other agencies are working to recreate/falsify how they have obtained certain specific knowledge), there will be abuses.  Once every four years we vote on a new leader.  Our laws must ensure that we are all safe no matter who acquires the office of President.

    I think Obama has been a good President on some issues in some realms, on this issue he has lost his Constitutional scholar/lawyer fucking mind.


    I would really like to know (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:24:27 AM EST
    Lawrence Tribe's current opinion of his star pupil.

    Off topic (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:45:20 AM EST
    My asthma/allergy doctor plays with the local orchestra.  He is very accomplished in all sorts of life crap.  He's a great doctor, wins photography awards, a real pain in the ass.

    Several years ago I knew they were trying to cobble together an orchestra, someone in the dog fancy started playing bass and they had about 10 people.  He invited me to join with violin and I thought to myself that he must be out of his mind.  I show up in public to make a fool of myself enough as it is.

    My hero who ended my asthma struggle says that they have 40 players now.  He plays violin too.  I still shrug, not really wanting to be a butcher.  So he asks me if I know that there is special orchestra music now written for idiot orchestras, simplified versions that make us sound better than we really are?  I cracked up, said that's cheating....but...I think I'm going to do it.


    Go for it. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:48:45 AM EST
    Do you have an instrument though?  I sold my flute to finance a legal study tour to the Soviet Union. No regrets.

    I gave my old violin away to a student (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:50:12 AM EST
    But I deserve a new one :)

    Holy Cow (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:27:45 AM EST
    I can get a purple violin.  I am wading into a new oblivion.

    I was going to suggest (none / 0) (#50)
    by shoephone on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:42:35 PM EST
    this place, but they say they are "downsizing" so I don't know if that means they are having rent problems or what. And don't know if they have purple!

    I will call them on Monday (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:24:50 PM EST
    Every source can't hurt.  I probably won't get a purple one.  It is interesting that I can.  If I was just starting out I would have had a purple starter violin when I was a kid.  I am looking in the $500 range, and if it isn't an instrument that someone has already gone over I will probably immediately need a higher quality bridge.  The strings usually come bottom of the line too and replacing them immediately usually drastically improves the sound of new violin packages.  The bows are usually pretty awful too and you go buy a better bow.  A good bow also dramatically improves sound.  I am shocked while shopping though that a midrange bow costs what rehairing a cheap bow used to cost when I quit playing.  Prices have deflated.  I am reading that the quality of rosin has immensely improved too to allow the bows to grasp the strings better, and it is still $3.00.

    Where does the Constitutional scholar meme (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 08:48:55 AM EST
    come from anyway?  

    Apart from a couple of books he wrote about himself, I've never seen anything even remotely scholarly published by our constitutional scholar-in-chief.


    He was an adjunct professor (none / 0) (#27)
    by scribe on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 09:55:38 AM EST
    of Constitutional Law at Univeristy of Chicago law school.

    The president is (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 11:55:03 AM EST
    a former Lecturer (1992-1996) and Senior Lecturer (1996-2004) at the University of Chicago Law School.   The Sr. Lecturer title does signify adjunct status.   Both Lecturer and Senior Lecturer are perfectly respectable academic titles, but it takes some nuancing to turn them into "professor."   The title issue seems to have arisen in a statement then Senator Obama made in 2007 at a fundraiser: " I was a constitutional law professor which means, unlike the current president, I actually respect the Constitution."  

    U. of Chicago statement (none / 0) (#38)
    by Politalkix on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:12:28 PM EST

    "Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined."


    In that publish or perish world, tenure is hard (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 02:54:43 PM EST
    to get when all you write about is yourself.

    Not everyone thinks that a tenure track (2.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Politalkix on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 04:00:49 PM EST
    academic position is the most fulfilling career choice when they have ambitions about changing the world.

    Ask the Bill Gates, Sergei Brins or the JK Rowlings about these things.

    The "publish or perish world" more often than not lead to a lot of useless publications and mediocrity and group think that serve no purpose other than padding resumes. It would be nicer if faculty only published when they really thought that they had done work of very high creativity and originality that was worth publishing, instead of being pushed by the system to publish.  

    The President enjoys the respect of some of the most successful people in academia (Lawrence Tribe, Elena Kagan, Lawrence Summers and others) as well as in non-academia (Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Sergei Brin and others). This is more important than whether he sought a tenure track faculty position or not.

    If you are a mediocre Professor, a tenure track professorship defines you. If you have higher ambitions to shape the course of history or are truly exceptional, it does not matter whether you are a tenure track faculty in academia or have chosen a career outside tenure track.  


    So, you would have us believe that (5.00 / 4) (#48)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 04:32:48 PM EST
    it is only the mediocre who aspire to tenure?

    So, I guess he was also safeguarding his precious intellect from the judgment of his peers while in law school, too, then?

    I find it kind of interesting, though not unexpected, that you would be able to manipulate Obama's lack of writing about anything but himself into a positive, rather than what some of us see it as - emblematic of someone who thinks the title is what's important, not the substance.

    And, as for the respect he enjoys, that's really paid off for quite a few people, hasn't it?  I'm sure there couldn't be any self-interest there, though.


    How did you come to that conclusion? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Politalkix on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 05:00:17 PM EST
    Where did I say that "only the mediocre aspire to tenure". There are some brilliant people who aspire to tenure and some mediocre people who also do the same. There are also some very brilliant people who choose a career outside tenure track academia.
    People have a right to make choices in their lives regarding careers. If you look at the time period in question, it was clear that the President had many other things to do (that he thought had more impact on more people) and prepare for a future career of his choice than publish papers that would be of interest only to a few people within academia (most academic papers are of that kind).



    It is agreed that not everyone (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 09:47:43 PM EST
    thinks that a tenure-track position in a professional field is the most fulfilling career pathway  when they have other ambitions about changing the world--or even, more simply, when they have other interests and feel that they can contribute in another way (e.g., as a practitioner rather than as a full-time academic).

    "Full-time" may have been an important consideration of  President Obama--preferring the mix of teaching and the  pursuit of other interests such as practicing law and working  in the community.  Hence, his status as a part-time lecturer and then senior lecturer (an adjunct status when he became a state senator representing the 13th district of  Illinois, Hyde Park/Kenwood, in which the U of Chicago is located).

     I do think, however, that it is possible to appreciate the career pathway chosen by Mr. Obama without discounting and disparaging full-time academics and the rigor needed to achieve promotion and tenure.  


    That statement is also (none / 0) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:26:26 PM EST
    referenced in my comment's link.   It is the nuanced response of the law school;  it would have been accurate to say that ...during his 12 years as a faculty member in the Law School...

    I think (none / 0) (#47)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 04:25:11 PM EST
    he was an adjunct teaching only civil rights under the Constitution.  Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think that was it.

    Me too (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 12:28:18 AM EST
    Kudos to TalkLeft for their "Chatter"! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Visteo1 on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 06:52:01 PM EST
    I think the President responded to all the "chatter" that was publicly available.  It means progress.

    The NSA must have known (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 08:00:35 PM EST
    he was a few fries short of a Happy Meal, long before now.

    "The Door to the F.I.S.A. Court" (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 09:23:05 PM EST
    Blogger Eric Mill actually found the FISA courtroom.  To be completely accurate, he found its door.  How cool is that?  Sorry, no pics, only hand drawings.

    Central to "reforms" (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 02:17:49 PM EST
    is a big change in the FISA Court--how and who gets appointed, and, review and confirmation by the Senate.  Having Chief Justice Roberts appoint right wing judges should be a first step.  

    Forming a committee to look into it? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 06:26:41 AM EST
    Not confidence inspiring that anything is actually going to happened except some stalling.

    I've read that "press conference" means invited media only and questions only by those Obama calls on. I can't believe that is tolerated, but haven't seen it clearly does or does not happen that way.

    post 2: questions re Obama alleged lying (none / 0) (#57)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 01:44:29 PM EST
    After the Obama press conference re surveillance, there have been allegations that he or members of the administration were or had been lying about the surveillance, and that the lies were exposed by Snowden.  But I am not clearly seeing who told lies and what the lies were and what deceptions there have been.  Is there anyone who thinks the admin has lied and who wishes to list a few of the lies and deceptions, and how we know they are lies?

    Here (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 02:43:39 PM EST
    "There is no spying on Americans," said President Obama to talkshow host Jay Leno on Tuesday night.

    Though he acknowledged the US possesses "mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat," Obama used a calm voice to say clearly: "We don't have a domestic spying program."

    However, according to new reporting by the Guardian based on documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the intelligence agency is, in fact, spying directly on Americans and maintains authority to exploit a "secret backdoor" legal loophole which allows it to search for "US citizens' email and phone calls without a warrant."

    common dreams


    ....or members of the administration.... (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by KeysDan on Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 03:10:04 PM EST
    The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, when asked last March by Senator Ron Wyden (D. OR) during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing if NSA gathered any type of data at all on millions of, or hundreds of millions of Americans,and Clapper answered "No." And, when pursued, added "not wittingly".    In July, after the Snowden leaks, Clapper apologized to Senator Feinstein, Chair of the Intelligence Committee, saying his answer was "erroneous."