Obama’s big excuse for the economy is that it is all Bush’s fault. That’s a lame way to shift blame after having four years as president and making promises about recovery.
But what about “the national security state”? Obama was elected because he was proclaimed a different message about the importance of civil rights and contrasted himself with the Bush Administration.
So how has that worked out? The headline, “Warrantless surveillance by American government has increased by 662% since 2001” might make you think the story is really about the Bush Administration.
But the charts tell a different story.
According to the data revealed by the Justice Department and compiled by the ACLU, the total number of “original orders” for pen register and tap-and-trace surveillance hit 37,616 in 2011; this is a 662% increase from 2001’s 5,683 and 60% increase from 2009’s 23,535.
On the chart for “Original Orders” you will see that the line gets steeper after 2009. Think about it. It took eight years to go from 5,683 orders to 23,535 orders. Less than four years to hit 37,616 years. Under Obama, the State Department is doing more, not less, warrantless wiretapping. And the rate of increase in such orders has risen.
Likewise, the number of people affected by such practices has more than doubled since Obama took office. The growth of surveillance during the eight years of Bush has been surpassed by the single term of the Obama administration! More people have been affected by pen register and tap-and-trace surveillance in the past two years than in the previous eight.
Also, “Although Internet surveillance is still minute compared to phone surveillance, it has seen an increase of 361% from 2009 to 2011.” More than triple the number of emails are being hacked.
While no one (most no one) is questioning the need for such surveillance for the purposes of law enforcement, there is growing frustration at the lack of oversight. For example, as the ACLU points out, the Justice Department is required by law to provide annual reports that reveal the following:
- The period of interceptions authorized by each order and the number and duration of any extensions of each order
- The specific offenses for which each order was granted
- The total number of investigations that involved orders
- The total number of facilities (like phones) affected
- The district applying for and the person authorizing each order
However, the Justice Department rarely, if ever, provides such reports and when it does provide them, the reports are lost “into a congressional void” instead of reaching the public.
Is this keeping us safe? We really can’t know because it is all kept secret. All we can say for sure is that, under Obama, the government is doing a lot more unaccountable spying. Obama has not only failed to make the problem better. He’s made it much much worse!