Announcing National Use Zazi to Gain New Surveillance Powers Day!

The last line of this article
on how the Najibullah Zazi arrest was a victory for the Obama
Administration's approach to terrorism boasts that the Administration
didn't have a John Ashcroft-style press conference on the day of the

With Zazi's arrest, administration
officials said they had a renewed sense of confidence that they could
approach security threats in a new way. "The system probably worked the
way it did before, but we made a conscious decision not to have a big
press conference" about Zazi's arrest, a senior official said.

Which is pretty hysterical, coming as it does in one article of
several that are obviously similarly seeded, boasting of Obama's new
approach to terrorism. There are several aspects to this apparent PR
blitz. Articles providing details (though none as detailed as the NPR story over the weekend) explaining how the CIA learned of Zazi and shared info with the FBI. Articles discussing
the address by Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, and Robert Mueller
yesterday, lauding information sharing. All of which will lead into
coverage of Obama's address to the National Counter-Terrorism Center,
scheduled for today at 11:40.

We didn't have a press conference when we arrested Zazi, the WaPo's
source (who could be Rahm or John Brennan) seems to be saying, but
we're sure as hell going to have a media blitz about it when it serves
our purposes.

What's especially nice about this WaPo piece, though, is it makes
the goal of the media blitz explicit, tying it to the discussion of the

At the same time, the Obama
administration is pressing Congress to move swiftly to reauthorize
three provisions of the USA Patriot Act set to expire in late December.
They include the use of "roving wiretaps" to track movement, e-mail and
phone communications, a tool that federal officials used in the weeks
leading up to Zazi's arrest.

With the apprehension of Zazi, as well as several other covert
operations at home and abroad, the Obama administration is increasingly
confident that it has struck a balance between protecting civil
liberties, honoring international law and safeguarding the country.

Note, however, that the WaPo focuses on one of the least controversial of the practices, roving wiretaps.
It does not discuss how the Administration wants to lower the legal
standard for allowing FBI agents to get business records and things
like medical records on people who may have no tie to terrorism. It
does not talk about National Security Letters, which let the FBI get
certain records with no court review. And it does not discuss how the
Administration is using more and more data mining of US persons.

In other words, it boasts of Obama's approach to terrorism without
actually revealing what it is, without even providing the level of
detail Dina Temple-Raston provided over the weekend.

So the PR blitz serves the same purpose as John Ashcroft's
circus-like pressers did: to wow citizens that our national security
team has prevented an act of terrorism. But to offer that--rather than
an honest discussion of what that means for civil liberties--as the
sole discourse on terrorism.

Don't get me wrong: the men and women who tracked down Zazi deserve
some public kudos. But that shouldn't be tied to a political campaign
designed to further curtail civil liberties.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

© 2023 FireDogLake