VP Joe Biden and the NSA once had a “disconnect” when it came to electronic information monitoring.
As a US Senator from Delaware, Biden was not a fan of the NSA secret surveillance program that has been more fully revealed by whistleblower/leaker Edward Snowden who is currently hiding out in Hong Kong.
In fact, both he and then-Senator Barack Obama voted against extending the Patriot Act’s wiretap provisions. Both lawmakers were strong foes of Bush administration initiatives including but not limited to electronic surveillance.
Many detractors of President George W. Bush regular accused him of assaulting civil liberties and shredding the Constitution and other highly charged words to that effect. According to new Gallup poll, Bush is now more popular than Obama, ironically enough.
Both the current president and vice president now fully support the NSA “dragnet” program of spying on the phone calls and internet content of American citizens. Some opponents of what is happening now have likened the current, massive NSA snooping operation as the Bush policy on steroids.
Back in 2006 (see embed below), Biden took a dim view of government data mining with Bush in the White House: “I don’t have to listen to phone calls to know what you’re doing. If I know every single phone call you made, I’m able to determine every single person you talked to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here is what do they do with this information that they collect that does not have anything to do with Al Qaeda … And we’re going to trust the president and vice president of the United States that they’re doing the right thing, don’t count me in on that.”
The ACLU has filed what is likely one of many lawsuits against the Obama administration to challenge the constitutionality of the NSA surveillance program. Such lawsuits are in part premised on alleged violations of the 4th Amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
According to Politico, even members of the president’s own party have become uneasy with these ongoing scandals: ” ‘Trust me’ is President Barack Obama’s preferred mode of action in times of crisis … But that message is an increasingly hard sell for Obama in his second term, following revelations that the man who once railed against the Bush administration over civil liberties abuses has himself surreptitiously quarterbacked the greatest expansion of electronic surveillance in U.S. history. Obama’s call for trust, patience and near blanket secrecy is increasingly falling on deaf ears in his own party, spurring a backlash among Democrats who say it’s time for the ‘most transparent president in history’ to provide the American people with a comprehensive explanation of a secret program that dragnets most phone records and much of the Internet.”
Does it surprise you that both Obama and Biden have adopted a far different view of electronic eavesdropping since their days in the US Senate?