Sakset/Fra hofta

Barack Obama snakker nå som George W. Bush. Obama sier hans første oppgave er å beskytte amerikanerne og USA. Men det er feil, skriver Micah Zenko i Foreign Policy. Obamas første oppgave er å beskytte grunnloven. Det er hva han sverger ved innsettelsen. Har han glemt det?

Dette punkt handler om kjernen i amerikansk patriotisme: å beskytte grunnloven. Hvis borgernes trygghet er det overordnede hensyn, kan man forsvare nesten hva det skal være.

Terror er blit et sesam-sesam som man ikke kan argumentere mot. Det er også blitt en enveiskjørt gate; alle forpurrede terrorplaner tjener som begrunnelse for at alle lover og fullmakter må forlenges. Men hvis borgerne ikke en gang får vite hvor omfattende overvåkingen er, får de heller sjansen til å ta stilling til om det er verdt det.

Også Obamas fremste er kommet med uttalelser som i lys av Snowdens avsløringer fremstår som løgn.

 

Of course, nobody has argued that «every step» of every counterterrorism activity should be made public. Interestingly, the Obama administration makes the reverse argument that every activity it says should remain classified is nobody’s business. Moreover, the revelations published in the Guardianand the Washington Post involved the collection of metadata of U.S. citizens’ phone records, emails, website visits, and credit card transactions. The American public was never made aware of this monitoring of their personal activities, and when Sen. Ron Wyden asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, in March, «Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?» Clapper responded: «No, sir.» It turns out they have been, for at least the past seven years.

Obamas forsvar er at alle etterforskninger skjer etter godkjenning av en spesialdomstol. Men for å vite hvor betryggende systemet er, må man kjenne tallene; hvor mange henvendelser har domstolen behandlet, og hvor mange har den avslått?

Svaret er 11 av 33.900.

 

Although Obama has yet to be asked if Clapper will be investigated for apparently lying to Congress under oath, the president further defended the NSA’s surveillance programs by claiming, «Not only is Congress fully apprised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] Court has to authorize it.» Last week, when Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to make this same argument before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Barbara Mikulski stopped him flat:

«This «fully briefed» is something that drives us up the wall, because often «fully briefed» means a group of eight leadership. It does not necessarily mean relevant committees.… So «fully-briefed» doesn’t mean we know what’s going on.»

Subsequent statements from senators and congressmen of both parties revealed that most elected representatives were — like the general public — unaware of the scope of data that was being collected, and disagreed about its effectiveness at disrupting terrorist plots. Meanwhile, the FISA Court has rejected only 11 of the more than 33,900 surveillance applications made by the federal government since 1979. Therefore, the congressional and judicial oversight of these only just-now-revealed NSA surveillance programs appears to be both confused and sparse. Obama claimed: «On balance, we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about.» Many Americans are not, because they were kept in the dark about what «telephony metadata» was being collected from them, and the processes and procedures are nearly as opaque.

 

Terror er en asymmetrisk trussel, og etter 9/11 ønsket ikke amerikanerne å oppleve noe lignende. Men ikke bare synes prisen å være høy – i form av tap av personlige data – folk er heller ikke klar over at de blir tatt fra dem og befinner seg i myndighetenes besittelse.

Overvåkingen er m.a.o. ikke demokratisk forankret.

 

 
To Protect and Defend…
No, Mr. President, your top job is not to ‘keep the American people safe.’