Published on
Common Dreams

NSA Opponents Call Out White House for Hypocrisy of "Informed" Debate on Spying

Obama says proposed legislative curbs on NSA spying are not 'transparent' enough; critics retort 'like your secret surveillance program?'

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

The Obama Administration is fiercely campaigning against a proposed legislative measure in the House—up for debate Wednesday—to curb NSA secret spying, on the grounds that the measure is not 'open or deliberative' enough.

Critics slam the hypocrisy of invoking transparency to defend a secret spying program given free reign in closed-door NSA meetings and FISA courts and conducted without the consent of millions of people caught in the surveillance dragnet.

The White House released a statement Tuesday declaring, "[W]e oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process."

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald—who broke the story on secret spying exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—was quick to seize on the irony of the White House statement on Twitter.


If you think a better world is possible, support our people-powered media model today

The corporate media puts the interests of the 1% ahead of all of us. That's wrong. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to a healthy democracy, please step forward with a donation to nonprofit Common Dreams today:

Meanwhile, Senator Ron Wyden warned that the NSA spying program has a staggeringly far reach with no real accountability. Addressing an event hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund on Tuesday, he warned:

The combination of increasingly advanced technology with a breakdown in the checks and balances that limit government action could lead us to a surveillance state that cannot be reversed.

The legislative measure, introduced to the House by Michigan Republican Justin Amash, is aimed at preventing the NSA from accessing millions of US phone records without consent. This will be the first vote in Congress to curb the NSA's secret spying powers since the scandal erupted, and it has garnered bipartisan support.

The Wednesday congressional debate—with a vote expected Wednesday or Thursday—comes just days after secret courts reapproved the phone data collection program Friday. The Obama Administration has fiercely defended the spying and lobbied against any proposed curbs, and NSA Director General Keith Alexander held an emergency closed-door briefing with Congress on Tuesday to forcefully urge rejection of the proposed amendment.

Yet, the Obama Administration has been unable to contain mounting public outrage at the secret spying now making its way to Congress.

"The public was not just kept in the dark about the Patriot Act and other secret authorities," Wyden said. "The public was actively misled."


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article