OBAMA defends Massive NSA Spying PRISM program. Taps in to user data of Apple, Google, Skype, Verizon & others
President Obama on Friday defended a pair of recently disclosed surveillance programs as striking the "right balance" between national security and civil liberties following a speech Friday in California.
"You can't have 100 percent security and also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a government," Obama said.
"You can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, I think we've struck the right balance."
The administration acknowledged Thursday that the National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored domestic telephone data and international Internet traffic from tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook.
Obama stressed that every member of Congress had been briefed on the phone monitoring program and that the relevant Intelligence committees were aware of PRISM — the code name of the NSA's secret program to monitor Internet traffic. He also noted that federal judges had to sign off on data-gathering requests.
"If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress and don't trust federal judges to make sure we're abiding by the Constitution, then we're going to have some problems here," Obama said.
Critics of the program have said that the courts and Congress have had little real oversight of the programs.
Congressional leaders say confidentiality restrictions have limited their ability to publicly voice their concerns, and the administration has not provided court rulings under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for their review. They also say the administration has aggressively over-interpreted what is authorized to do under the law.
Civil liberties groups have also dismissed the administration's assurances that each surveillance program undergoes FISA judicial review, blasting the court as a rubber stamp. In a letter sent earlier this year to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Attorney General Eric Holder said the court approved 1,788 of 1,789 applications for electronic surveillance; the government withdrew the one remaining petition.
The president went on to say that the White House believed the programs played an important role in preventing terror attacks.
"My assessment and my team's assent was they help us prevent terrorist attacks, and the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved ... on net, it was worth us doing. Some other folks may have a different assessment of that," he said.
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After The Guardian outed the NSA and its unprecedented violations of the Fourth Amendment, members of Congress took to the limelight to defend the government's tyrannical behavior.
"I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us," she said during a press conference following a super-secret Intelligence Committee meeting. "This is the reason why we keep TSA doing what it's doing. This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the National Counterterrorism Center that's been set up in the time we've been active. It's to ferret this out before it happens. It's called protecting America."
Feinstein neglected to say that, in fact, the TSA has never foiled a single terrorist plot and never will. As for the FBI, it specializes in creating fake terrorist plots and entrapping witless patsies, a fact pointed out by none other than The New York Times
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
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