With four kids and a new puppy, I do not get to watch much television. This morning therefore I was probably one of the last to read this odd comment from President Barack Obama on Jay Leno last night:
“The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are a lot lower than they are of dying in a car accident, unfortunately.” It was clearly a slip of the tongue but for civil libertarians it was a signature moment since our burgeoning security state seems to be working desperately to keep fear alive. For many who have criticized the rise of the security state, it sounded like an authoritarian Freudian slip. The comment is particularly interesting in light of a recent poll showing Americans afraid more of their own government’s attack on privacy than terrorist attacks.
Despite new reports of additional massive warrantless surveillance programs, Obama continued the campaign of denial by his Administration and allies in Congress. He insisted “We don’t have a domestic spying program.” That is clearly untrue given the public acknowledgment of these programs but it does not seem to matter. As usual, Obama seems to be drawing a distinction between collecting such data on every citizen and actually using that surveillance. They only use the information in these massive databanks when they want to. It also does not seem to matter that the only serious questions on this issue for the president appear to be coming from a comedian.
On Snowden, Obama stated “We don’t know exactly what he did, except what he said on the Internet and it’s important for me not to judge.”
That is also likely to strike civil libertarians as a bit odd since this is the president that claims the right to kill any American citizen without a charge, let alone conviction, based on his own authority. He vaporized Anwar al-Aulaqi on this basis. His teenage son was killed later.
Of course this is just comedy . . . the show that is.