President Barack Obama made news this week that he would propose a plan to decrease a small fraction of spying against the American people by the National Security Agency. The Obama plan would switch authority for seizing information about Americans’ private communications by telephone, but wouldn’t address the problem of warrantless wiretapping that gathers audio recordings of those calls, and wouldn’t do a darned thing about spying against Americans’ Internet use and other private electronic data seizure by the NSA.
Most people didn’t notice that President Obama’s plan, which is expected to be either rejected or amendmented to death in the U.S. Congress, came at the very same time that Obama requested a 3-month extension of the very abusive, unconstitutional spying that he claimed to want to end. Obama says he’s asking Congress to end the massive warrantless seizure of telephone metadata, but Obama already has the power to end those abuses almost immediately, without the need of passing any legislation.
Senator Bernard Sanders has noticed, and he’s speaking out. Sanders has released a statement of protest asking Obama to end all NSA abuses, and to do it right now. Sanders writes, “At a time when the American people are outraged by government attacks on our constitutional rights, the president’s proposal is a step forward. We must, however, go further. Ending the bulk collection of phone records of virtually all Americans – 99.999 percent of whom have nothing to do with terrorism – is important. The president should end that program now, not 90 days from now. We also must also make sure that the government isn’t harvesting records on our emails and other Internet activity except in instances where there are specific reasons to suspect wrongdoing.”