June 12, 2013
Reporters were invited to a secret meeting with President Obama to corroborate how the leak concerning the NSA’s PRISM program will be dealt with in the mainstream media (MSM).
Referred to as a routine “background briefing session”; however the details of this meeting were to remain unspoken and reporters who attended the meeting was not forthcoming with details of what was discussed.
Reporters from many of the most influential MSM outlets were in attendance:
• New York Times
• Washington Post
• Huffington Post
• USA Today
At an annual banquet of the Intelligence and national Security Alliance, James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, joked about recent comments he made regarding the NSA leak.
Clapper called it the “elephant in the room” regarding ““the unauthorized leaks as reprehensible and egregious.”
Clapper joked that: “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up—so many emails to read!”
Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked that data surveillance “methods are in demand. But you can’t just listen to the phone call in Russia; you need a special order from court. This is how this should be done in civilized society while tackling terrorism with the use of any technical means. If it is in the framework of the law, then it’s ok. If not it is unacceptable.”
Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Putin said that should his government receive a request from Edward Snowden, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, for asylum “we will consider it.”
Snowden remarked that it is his “predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values.”
House Speaker John Boehner said that Snowden is a “traitor. “The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it’s a giant violation of the law.”
Boehner said that the NSA surveillance programs being used by the Obama administration are “important national security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face. The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home.”
Boehner claims that there is “heavy oversight of this program by the House Intelligence Committee on a bipartisan basis and the Senate Intelligence Committee. And that’s why I feel comfortable that we can operate this program and protect the privacy rights of our citizens.”
The MSM portrays the revelation that the NSA is monitoring Americans through digital communications as a divide between Republican and Democrat ideology.
House Representative Steny Hoyer stands with the Obama administration and the surveillance programs fronted by the NSA. In response to whistleblower Snowden, Hoyer said: “This certainly compromises the intelligence gathering abilities of the United States and to that extent is helpful to … those who would cause us harm.”
David Drummond, lawyer for Google, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) that demanded the federal government publically disclose the number of National Security Letters sent to Google that request user data for surveillance purposes.
According to the letter: “Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue. However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.”
The letter continues: “We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope. Google’s numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide.”
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have introduced a bill to force the Obama administration to declassify Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions that legalize the monitoring of Americans.
MSM reports that this bill is dead before it is given a chance for review because elected officials will “just say no” to having such legislation on the books.