But the reporters' questions showed a bit of an edge. One pool reporter at the press conference asked him if he could understand why Americans might not trust him after all the leaks of spying programs. He attacked that comment stating, "No, I can't," and arguing that he was "comfortable" with the level of spying.
President Obama says he's "comfortable" with his spying on you, so you should be too.
[Image Source: AP]
The President did, however, promise to work with Congress to revise Section 215 (50 USC § 1861) of the USA PATRIOT (Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism) Act, legal language which in essence grants the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) unchecked, unlimited powers of search and seizure. Specifically, the language of the law states that it is legal for FBI agents to demand from any citizen "any tangible things," without producing a warrant so long as the agent(s) "specif[ies]" that the order is "for an authorized investigation . . . to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."
And it appears that the NSA was nudged by the President to release a white paper [PDF] on its internet and telephone metadata surveillance operations, which spy on chats, emails, web traffic, and other information ostensibly with the goal of finding and tracking "terrorists".
Much of the document is largely just boilerplate. The opening section thumps the rising threat of terrorism and the NSA's role in fighting it. A subsequent section emphasizes that the intended purposes of the agency is to monitor foreign communications (which was apparently overlooked in the indiscriminate grab of U.S. cell phone users' metadata). The backing legal authority-- Executive Order 12333 (President Ronald Reagan, 1981) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) (50 USC Chapter 36) -- is also noted.
II. NSA Appears to Filter After it Harvest Data, Overcollecting on a Massive Scale
Things start to get juicy on page 4. The NSA writes:
Sources: President Obama via The Washington Post [transcript], NSA [white paper]
quote: But agency claims to only review 0.00004 % (~77,000 GB) per day
quote: Not just that, it's also because are pants-pissing-afraid of dying from a terrorist attack, or dying from anything for that matter.
quote: The sad part is, I don't even live in the United States and the NSA's spying tactics worries me.