Well, maybe President Obama should call his Christmas holiday a working vacation, but then the Republicans like Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly and even Rush Limbaugh would label him as anti-Christmas. His announcement that he'll be doing some work over the holiday will surely draw the ire of these nutcases. After all, this is their season. The season of the fruitcake.
According to THE HILL:
Obama has promised he’ll review a more than 300-page list of 46 recommendations to reform the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance programs.
The first is:
End the government’s bulk data collection:
The White House advisory panel says Congress should pass a law ending the NSA’s storage of bulk collection of data about Americans’ phone calls, known as metadata.
This program is at the center of the NSA activities revealed last summer by Edward Snowden,
Give public advocates a voice on surveillance court
The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was created to keep spying within the law, but only hears arguments from the government.
Prevent agencies from forcing disclosure of information:
Lawmakers should reform laws to keep agencies from issuing letters that force people and companies to hand over sensitive information, the board said.
Put a civilian in charge of the NSA:
The report recommends that a civilian, and not a military official, be in charge of the NSA, an idea already shot down by the White House.
And finally, among the big five (of the 26 total):
Clamp down on leaks:
The report warned about “insider threats” who may gain access to classified information to either leak it to the public or steal it for other purposes.
The measures seem targeted at preventing leaks of critical information like the kind revealed by Snowden, though he is not named specifically. [though rumors have surfaced that Darrell Issa has been singled out]
Well, only time will tell. The need for oversight and change is obvious. With each Edward Snowden revelation comes more shock that this program has gotten so out of hand. Obama needs to reassure the public that he and his advisors will stop misleading the public (okay, call it lying -- James Clapper as an example). We're not the prisoners of spying like in Orwell's, 1984. The science fiction work is about to become reality in 2014 -- off by only 30 years -- if we don't stop Big Brother right now. So happy reading, Mr. President. Hopefully you'll make some course corrections early in the new year. Until then, you know what I'm thinking -- or at least the NSA surely does.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.