The President responds
At a news conference in California today in connection with the Affordable Care Act, the President was forced to go “off topic” (as our ruling class calls respond to impertinent questions about things they don’t want to discuss) to give us his views on the vast secret data sweeping programs of our government, targeting its own citizens. You can read the money quotes here and the full transcript here. I’ll only give a summary.
The programs were only “secret” in the sense that their existence and activities were known to only a few, who were sworn to secrecy. In all other respects they were not secret.
Some, though by no means most, of your elected officials knew about some, although not all or even most, of the activities of the program. So it’s on you.
Once you elect anyone, you need not bother knowing what they or their colleagues do. Your job is done. So whatever they do or don’t do, even if they are kept in the dark about what I do, it’s on you. So why is anyone complaining?
We can’t have 100% privacy and 100% security. Of course the Boston bombing has shown we don’t have 100% security. The current disclosures show we have near 0% privacy. So what more do you want?
If we are to engage in a discussion about privacy and security, it’s best that people not know the details of any existing or proposed program. We can handle that. It’s enough if they signal how much security they want and how much privacy they want and let us fill in the details. The best way to do this is to send an email saying, for example, “I want 53% security and 47% privacy.” Make sure the numbers total 100% or your wishes will not count. Who do you send the email to? It doesn’t matter they have all your emails; they can simply search them. There are secret programs for that.
The President did not directly address Joe Biden’s statement on February 7, 2009, that there “is no conflict between our security and our ideals. They are mutually reinforcing.” But we should know by now that Biden is an idiot. That’s what all the wise men on the talk shows have been saying. So if you believed him, that’s on you too.