Posted 10 months ago on Jan. 26, 2014, 9:30 a.m. EST by flip
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
to be frank, the only reason I am talking to you today about spying is because Edward Snowden has, through his leaked documents, illustrated that everything I and others in government have promised to do or told you about domestic and international surveillance is a lie.
Today I am announcing a series of cosmetic reforms that my administration intends to adopt administratively or will seek to codify through Congress.
First, I have approved a new presidential directive for our signals intelligence activities both at home and abroad that sounds impressive but means nothing.
Second, we will institute a few bureaucratic programs and procedures to give you the illusion of greater transparency while we continue to sweep up and store your personal information, including your telephone metadata.
Third, I propose more amorphous and undefined protections for government activities conducted under Section 702.
Fourth, the FBI’s national security letters will not be touched. But we could and should be more transparent in how government uses this authority. We really should. But we won’t. To make you feel better, however, I have directed the attorney general to amend how we use national security letters so that this secrecy will not be indefinite, so that it will terminate within a fixed—though unspecified—time unless the government demonstrates a need for further secrecy. That need might last forever.
This brings me to the program that has generated the most controversy these past few months—the bulk collection of telephone records under Section 215. Why is this necessary? It is necessary because in a totalitarian state the secret police must gather information not to solve crimes but, as Hannah Arendt pointed out, “to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” We need all of your emails, phone conversations, Web searches and geographical movements for “evidence” should we decide to seize you. And my apologies to Sen. Bernie Sanders, but we can’t make exemptions for members of Congress, especially when they come from Vermont. If you think you are innocent, or that you have nothing to hide, you do not understand what is happening. Justice, like truth, is no longer relevant. Ask Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, along with whistle-blowers like Thomas Drake, where justice and truth got them. One of the main tasks of any security service is blackmail, a tactic the FBI used to try to get Martin Luther King to commit suicide. So if you have any dirt we want to know about it.
I will propose turning over the storage of all your data to a third party, perhaps a private corporation. This will offer you no protection, but it should provide a good government contract to one of my major campaign donors.
The cosmetic reforms I’m proposing today will, I hope, give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, along with our courts, continue to eviscerate those rights. I recognize that there are additional issues that require further debate, such as your constitutional right to halt the wholesale capturing and storing of your personal information and correspondence and evidence of your geographical movements. But don’t expect me to help. I sold out long ago.
The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, can be assured that the United States follows everything they do or say. It does not matter if they are ordinary people or foreign leaders. I am not going to apologize for monitoring the communications of friends and allies. We know what we are doing. We know why this is important. The effects of declining incomes for working men and women, the massive debt peonage that keeps people trapped, the slashing of government assistance programs, the chronic, long-term unemployment, and the effects of climate change will eventually trigger volatile unrest. We are ready. The likelihood of totalitarianism no longer comes from fascism or communism. It comes from corporations. Corporations, for which I work, fear those who think and write and speak out and form relationships freely. Individual freedom impedes their profits. And the surveillance system I am protecting today is designed to keep these corporations in power.
Our democracy is a fiction. We seek to maintain this fiction to keep you passive. Should you wake up, we will not shy away from draconian measures. I believe we can meet high expectations. Together, let us chart a way forward that secures your complete subjugation, the iron rule of our corporations and our power elite—at least until we make the planet wholly uninhabitable—while we continue to snuff out the liberties that once made our nation worth fighting for.
Thank you. May God bless you. May God bless Corporate America.