Whatever you think of the various personalities involved in the NSA scandal, the issues raised are real and important. This is a discussion we need to have.
President Obama’s news conference today was … weird.
Binyamin Appelbaum, an economics reporter for the New York Times, summed it up sharply on Twitter: “Obama is really mad at Edward Snowden for forcing us patriots to have this critically important conversation.”
Obama began the news conference by announcing a series of reforms meant to increase the transparency of, and the constraints on, the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. They included reforms to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which enables the collection of telephone metadata; changes to the powerful surveillance courts to ensure “that the government’s position is challenged by an adversary”; declassification of key NSA documents; and the formation of “a high-level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies.”
“What makes us different from other countries is not simply our ability to secure our nation,” Obama said. “It’s the way we do it, with open debate and democratic process.”
If that’s so, then Edward Snowden should be hailed as a hero. There’s simply no doubt that his leaks led to more open debate and more democratic process than would’ve existed otherwise.
full article: washingtonpost.com