As expected, in facing yet another attack on civil liberties by the Obama Administration, Democratic members are choosing personality over principle. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) has come out to assure the public that it is a good thing that the Administration is spying on them and encourage them to accept such surveillance as the new normal. In the meantime, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R, Ga), insists that the surveillance must be fine because “to my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information.” Of course, it has been secret and just last February the Administration succeeded in blocking an effort of dozens of citizens and groups challenging such surveillance programs before the Supreme Court.
Feinstein is notorious among civil libertarians as someone who knew of many of the abuses during the Bush Administration, including possible knowledge of the torture program and warrantless surveillance programs. However, the Administration is clearly putting the push on to get members in front of cameras to claim that that surveillance stopped a plot. It is an effort to get citizens to give up this core liberty. Of course, if you strip every civil liberty, you can claim additional plots. These members are responsible, again, for a failure to use oversight authority to protect civil liberties. They have clearly been given the message to try to change the story in the critical first 24-hours in classic Bush (now Obama) terms: yes we put everyone under surveillance but it paid off. It is working. Where the headlines began the day as “huge surveillance program,” media is now reporting the story as “surveillance program foiled terror plot.” Once again the media is being played like a fiddle by our homegrown Neros.
Feinstein has continued her dubious record of leading the charge against liberty — a curious role for the Democratic senator from a state like California.
My favorite however is Chambliss who seems clueless that the Obama Administration has classified information needed to challenge these laws and no citizens had information to complain about . . . because Chambliss and his colleagues kept it from their constituents.
Then there is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) fresh from his questioning whether bloggers have first amendment rights. Graham stated “I’m a Verizon customer. I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States.” Most citizens would shudder at the thought of using either Feinstein or Graham as the barometer for civil liberties.
However, the spin is on. This is the ultimate test for Obama in seeing whether he can get citizens to give up not only the protection for the free press but their own privacy rights. This program is a critical step in the establishment of massive databanks on citizens. However, our members of Congress are lining up to embrace such a potential authoritarian tool.
Source: ‘Huff Post