By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

This one is on us

As we all express our outrage over the Verizon snooping, as we should, let’s remember: President Obama did this legally, following a provision of the Patriot Act that, as a senator, he voted for, and that Hillary Clinton, among others, opposed.

For years, politicians who voted against such things were demagogued as soft on terror. When The New York Times exposed George W. Bush’s illegal secret wiretapping, Bush called the story “shameful,” and some (including then-attorney general John Ashcroft) called for the Times to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

So, yes, we should express our outrage. At ourselves.

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  1. Just to note – this isn’t wiretapping that’s going on. The data being collected is the records of the calls, not the content. So, slightly less creepy.

  2. Patricia Bennett

    But didn’t he “promise” during the 08 elections that the Patriot Act would be abolished if he became president? Between the DOJ getting into the AP phone records, don’t you find this administration getting a little out of control? The IRS scandal should make each citizen angry, there’s no making excuses for it. Just a long line of scandals that will make the rest of his term moot.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Patricia: I have been criticizing Obama’s civil-liberties record for a long time, but no, he didn’t promise to abolish the Patriot Act. He voted for its extension in the summer of 2008, in the middle of the campaign. Apparently he did promise to get rid of it in 2003, when he was running for the Senate.

  3. lou gawab

    Dan….I’m impressed at your ability to process the realities here and see the inconsistencies without being partisan! 😉

  4. Nial Lynch

    Look over there! It’s abortion, prayer in school and Apple conforming with tax law!

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