NSA Unleashed, Obama Tells Public, ‘Trust Me’
Government’s loss of credibility undermines the president’s so-called surveillance reforms.
By Ron Fournier
January 15, 2014
Nearly six months ago, President Obama sought to temper outrage over the nation’s mushrooming surveillance programs by pledging new steps to balance privacy and safety. “It’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs,” he said. “The American people need to have confidence in them as well.”
In other words, no government, not even one led by a liberal constitutional lawyer, can shield bad policies with empty promises. It’s not enough to say, “Trust us,” while curbing sacred liberties — and yet that still appears to be Obama’s position.
Previews of the president’s address on counterterrorism Friday suggest he will not embrace the most far-reaching proposals of his own advisers and will punt some of the toughest issues to a dysfunctional Congress. The National Security Agency gets a pass.
My colleague James Oliphant wrote Tuesday, “President Obama has a rare opportunity this week to reshape the nation’s counterterrorism strategy. He won’t take it.” Meanwhile, Peter Baker and Charlie Savage of The New York Times reported today: