From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/09-0
Security officials defend legality of government’s top-secret surveillance system
Published on Sunday, June 9, 2013 by Common Dreams
Despite feigned outrage over the use of “illegal” surveillance techniques employed under the Bush administration, in the follow up to this week’s news of a massive government surveillance system, revelations have come forth regarding President Obama’s role in not only the expansion of existing surveillance methods but also of the codification of laws that permit the violation of Americans’ civil liberties.
Speaking with Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace about what President Obama has done with surveillance programs inherited from the Bush administration, Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and CIA answered:
In terms of surveillance? Expanded [the programs] in volume, changed the legal grounding for them a little bit. […]
We’ve gotten more of these records over time. With the amendment to the FISA Act, in 2008, which Senator Obama finally voted for, NSA is actually empowered to do more things than I was empowered to do under President Bush’s special authorization.
“We misunderstood Barack Obama years ago when he slammed the Bush administration for arbitrary intrusion in the privacy of citizens, in the name of the war on terrorism,” writes political blogger Juan Cole, referencing the President’s 2007 declaration that he would “provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our constitution and our freedom.”
“No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens, he promised. But note that he didn’t say ‘no more wiretapping,’” Cole continues. “Apparently Obama only meant that he would pass laws and issue presidential decrees that allowed the government to violate civil liberties, so that the vast domestic surveillance was legal, in contrast to its illicit character under Bush. It isn’t the surveillance that he was promising to curtail.”
In a statement issued Saturday, Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., defended the legality of the top-secret government surveillance program, PRISM, under Section 702 of FISA, as approved by Congress in 2008.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/09-0