President Barack Obama
This should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. According to unnamed aides and intelligence sources President Obama on Friday will announce new guidelines on the NSA's surveillance operations but won't end or seriously limit the "Agency's" bulk collection of American's telephone records. [i]
Aides characterized the process of moderating the NSA's surveillance activities as "far more difficult than initially expected" and struggling to find a "middle ground" while offering what New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Charlie Savage referred to as the "spirit of reform". [ii]
Yes Obama hasn't announced his new guidelines for altering government surveillance operations but aides aren't dispatched a day or two early to alert reporters on anything substantially different from what the president will announce tomorrow.
Call it a sneak preview, but as I wrote on Tuesday, "The Presidential Task Force on the NSA, A Diversionary Tactic Not Meant to Uncover All The Wrongdoing", OPEDNEWS, "So why should we expect the president to constrain the NSA in any meaningful way. Not when we consider both the head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander and James Clapper, the head of the Office of National Security both lied directly to Congress, a federal offense, when each was asked if the NSA spied on Americans and both said "No'. Both men continue on the job with neither facing consequences of their lying directly to Congress".
From here, the NSA's surveillance activities have clearly crossed the line, are un-Constitutional and violate the 4 th Amendment against the government's engaging in illegal "search and seizure" operations particularly when innocents, not suspected of any wrongdoing, have their private electronic communications intercepted by the NSA's clandestine operations.
That alone should be reason enough to thoroughly investigate the NSA's entire operation but don't hold your breath expecting that to be announced by the president on Friday.
All the hoo-hah coming from the intelligence crowd about their needing these surveillance operations to thwart terrorists is nonsense. Even the president's task force looking into the NSA concluded not in one instance did the NSA's surveillance activities prevent a terrorist attack.
Let's face it, the United States of Surveillance is in place and will only grow more intrusive, also something you're unlikely to hear from the president on Friday.
[i] "NSA changes likely limited, Obama to issue new guidelines in spy programs" by Ken Dilanian and Christi Parsons, "Tribune Washington Bureau" for "The Baltimore Sun", January 16, 2014
[ii] "Obama to Place Some Restraints on Surveillance", by Peter baker and Charlie Savage, "The New York Times", January 14, 2014.