President Obama Chastises PATRIOT Act Opponents – Journalist Calls BS on Obama Fearmongering

President Obama got on his high horse again this past weekend when he delivered some scathing commentary over the Congressional debate on the PATRIOT Act. The President focused his outrage on a coalition of conservatives and liberals who have joined forces to ensure an end to certain aspects of the PATRIOT Act, which they say violates the 4th Amendment. The President painted a dark picture, suggesting that the PATRIOT Act was all that stood between a safe and secure United States and some horrible and dark future where the terrorists had won.

I thought this would be a good opportunity before we break for the weekend, to just remind everyone that on Sunday at midnight, a whole bunch of the authorities that we use to prevent terrorist attacks in this country expire. 

Now, fortunately the House of Representatives was able to put forward a piece of legislation, the USA-FREEDOM Act that received overwhelming bipartisan support. 

And what it does is not only continue authorities that currently exist, it is not controversial.

For example, the capacity of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to use what si called a roving wiretap, so if we know there is an individual where there is probable cause, that individual might be engaged in a terrorist act but is switching cell phones, we can move from cell phone to cell phone.

Not a controversial provision. Those authorities would be continued. What the USA-FREEDOM Act also does is it reforms the bulk data collection program that has been of significant concern and that I promised we could reform over a year and a half ago.

So we now how Democrats and Republicans who think this is the right way to go.

We’ve got our law enforcement and national security teams and civil liberties proponents and advocates who say this is the right way to go.

The only thing that is standing in the way is a handful of Senators who are resisting these reforms, despite law enforcement saying let’s go ahead and get this done. So we’ve only got a few days.

These authorities expire Sunday at midnight and I don’t want us to be in a situation where for a certain period of time those authorities go away and suddenly we’re dark and heaven forbid we’ve got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn’t do so simply because of action in the Senate.

 

 

Journalist Glenn Greenwald is one observer who is tired of the fear mongering and fascism being belched out by the Obama administration. Greenwald took to CNN to argue that the media was complicit with Obama in his attacks on the Constitution because the media continues to allow him to lie about the war on Terror.

American media outlets should really be ashamed of themselves the way they do that. 

Supposedly the lesson that large American media outlets learned from their role in selling the Iraq War to the public was “oh, we’re not going to allow government officials to propagandaize the public anymore by giving them anonymity whenever they ask for it.” We’re going to make them put their names on things and have them be held accountable.

Yet this all turned out to be a complete scam.

If you turn on any major cable network, including the one we’re on unfortunately, or read any large newspaper, you constantly see reporters giving anonymity to the people they’re supposedly serving as watchdogs over, in order to scare the public.

That New York Times article that you reference that game anonymity to Obama officials to say nothing other than “You’re playing Russian roulette with national security if you’re one of our critics on the PATRIOT Act” was disgraceful. 

 

 

Partial Transcript Starting about 2:30

 

BRIAN STELTER, CNN: Have you been in touch with Snowden recently? How does he feel about what’s about to happen in the Senate [Sunday night regarding the expiration of the PATRIOT Act]?

GLENN GREENWALD: I mean, he feels, you know, very good about the fact that there’s a real debate. He has serious qualms, like I think most privacy activists and advocates do about the USA-FREEDOM Act, which is the piece of legislation that the Obama White House, and the intelligence community has gotten behind.

It’s woefully inadequate at best. 

But it’s really good to see, this is going to be the first time, and this is extraordinary, since 9/11, 14 years ago, that the Congress is taking away powers from the federal government in the name of terrorism rather than giving them new ones. So hopefully this can be built on.

STELTER: When you hear news outlets mostly citing anonymous sources, threatening about the risk to the country if these provisions do not remain, what do you hear? Because I sometimes worry that we encourage people to be more afraid than they should be, by repeating these talking points from administration officials.

GREENWALD: American media outlets should really be ashamed of themselves the way they do that.

Supposedly the lesson that large American media outlets learned from their role in selling the Iraq War to the public was “oh, we’re not going to allow government officials to propagandaize the public anymore by giving them anonymity whenever they ask for it.” We’re going to make them put their names on things and have them be held accountable. 

Yet this all turned out to be a complete scam.

If you turn on any major cable network, including the one we’re on unfortunately, or read any large newspaper, you constantly see reporters giving anonymity to the people they’re supposedly serving as watchdogs over, in order to scare the public.

That New York Times article that you reference that game anonymity to Obama officials to say nothing other than “You’re playing Russian roulette with national security if you’re one of our critics on the PATRIOT Act” was disgraceful.

It was the kind of reporting that got Judy Miller fired. And yet they continue to do it.

STELTER: Yet some officials have said it on the record. Loretta Lynch for example has made very severe statements about what could happen without these provisions of the PATRIOT Act. Are we not supposed to report what they say when they’re on the record?

GREENWALD: No, of course on the record should absolutely be reported. And then there should be reporting that goes along with it from people who dispute that or from facts that undermine it. I mean, here’s the thing, Brian–

STELTER: So your point is one of the quotes from her was “You will be less safe.” That was one of her quotes. I think what you’re saying is there should be follow-up, when in fact something expires and the country’s not less safe.

GREENWALD: Right. I mean, the Obama administration put together a panel, to ask this panel of experts who had access to classified information, are these metadata domestic spying programs keeping us safe?

And their own panel concluded that there has not been a single terrorist attack stopped by this program. So to allow Obama officials to go around the country saying “You’re going to die at the hands of ISIS and al Qaeda if we can’t spy on you,” without noting that all the evidence negates it, that is irresponsible. It’s stenography journalism.