I’d previously doubted that the deeply concerned bipartisan rebellion in and out of Congress against President Barack Obama’s contemptuous spying on all of us would have lasting impact on him or any of his successors who believe the president is the rule of law.
I spoke too soon, according to this headline in the Aug. 17 edition of the New York Daily News: “Pols rip NSA over privacy.”
The article highlighted the current revival of the personal liberty legacy of Tom Paine, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty.
What ignited this political outrage was the previous day’s Washington Post, which reported on newly released National Security Agency documents from former agency contractor Edward Snowden. Obama has made Snowden a citizen without a country until he returns from his haven in Russia to be ultimately judged by our Supreme Court, some of whose recent decisions have been supportive of the president in denying us our personal privacy rights.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “the thousands of privacy violations cited by the Post were ‘jaw-dropping’” (“Pols rip NSA over privacy,” Larry McShane, New York Daily News, Aug. 17).
Besides The Washington Post and the Daily News, other members of the media are also awakening to Obama’s belittling of We The People. In last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan quoted me at length: “There are particular constitutional liberty rights that (Americans) have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy ...
“The bad thing is you no longer have the one thing we’re supposed to have as Americans living in a self-governing republic” (“What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy,” Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 17).
The reporter who has been facilitating Snowden’s breaking news, thus disturbing Obama’s golf games, is The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald. He’s made Edward Snowden into a household name. Last month, Greenwald reported on “major public opinion shifts in how NSA surveillance and privacy are viewed,” further troubling our leading-from-behind commander-in-chief. He spoke of “a new comprehensive poll released ... by Pew Research (that) provides the most compelling evidence yet of how stark the shift is” (“Major opinion shifts, in the U.S. and Congress, on NSA surveillance and privacy,” Greenwald, The Guardian, July 29).
Dig this, Obama. According to the poll: “A majority of Americans — 56 percent — say that federal courts fail to provide adequate limits on the telephone and Internet data the government is collecting as part of its anti-terrorism efforts.
“An even larger percentage (70 percent) believes that the government uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism” (“Few See Adequate Limits on NSA Surveillance Program,” Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, July 26).
You see, we’re a lot smarter than Obama thinks we are.
Pew continues: “And despite the insistence by the president and other senior officials that only ‘metadata,’ such as phone numbers and email addresses, is being collected, 63 percent think the government is also gathering information about the content of communications.”
Citing these figures, Greenwald further explained the Pew poll’s importance:
“That demonstrates a decisive rejection of the U.S. government’s three primary defenses of its secret programs: there is adequate oversight; we’re not listening to the content of communication; and the spying is only used to Keep You Safe.”
I sure hope the parents among us are telling our kids what’s really going on, because the great majority of them aren’t learning in school about the president’s towering lies.
As she is busy planning for her likely 2016 presidential run, is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying anything about that? And how many of the potential Republican presidential candidates are mentioning Obama’s treating us with such wholesale disrespect?
Having quoted so much from Pew Research polls, I feel required to say that, as with all polls I reference, I first validate them from other research sources. I have found nearly all the Pew polls I’ve used are accurate.
Here are more of its findings: “Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say their greater concern about government anti-terrorism policies is that they have gone too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties; 35 percent say their greater concern is that they have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country ...
“This is the first time a plurality has expressed greater concern about civil liberties than security since the question was first asked in 2004.”
Greenwald, who called these figures the poll’s “most striking finding,” wrote: “For anyone who spent the post-9/11 years defending core liberties against assaults relentlessly perpetrated in the name of terrorism, polling data like that is nothing short of shocking.
This conclusion leads me to request that Pew Research and other proven reliable pollsters conduct a carefully, calmly worded national poll. It would ask a wide sampling of Americans — regardless of their politics and other self-identifying characteristics —whether they believe there is seriously documented evidence that indicates President Barack Obama should be impeached for continually defying his oath of office.
Twice he has defied that oath, when he swore to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
More than any other president, Obama has continually broken the oath of office.
Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.