The 4th of July is a good time for Americans to consider the Obama Administration’s snooping practices. Anyone who has read Orwell’s 1984 has to be queasy abou the surveillance of our phone calls and emails by our Big Brother, the NSA, and the recently breaking news of America’s spying on European friends.
Scott Lehigh at the Boston Globe refers to Obama’s “ham-handling of snooping,” but as Lehigh’s op-ed immediately reveals, the matter is much more serious than our president’s inadequate communication skills:
Friendly European capitals are up in arms over allegations that the United Stated bugged European Union offices in New York and Washington and employed an assortment of electronic eavesdropping techniques to spy on — um, monitor the communications of — the embassies of France, Italy, Greece, and other allies.
The American public, meanwhile, remains sharply divided about the NSA’s domestic snooping. Or what they know of it, anyway; we still haven’t had a clear, credible explanation of exactly what the agency is doing.
Meanwhile, the administration has sent a number of contradictory and counterproductive signals about NSA-contractor-turned-leaker-extraordinaire Edward Snowden.
As former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden observed on Sunday on “Face the Nation,” the NSA controversy raises a crucial question: How does a free society conduct a necessary dialogue about its government’s secret activities?