Obama’s Parting Gift: A Surveillance State In America

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Mon, Jan 16 - 1:45 am EDT | 2 years ago by
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President Barack Obama has decided to end his “scandal-free” presidency by dramatically expanding the United States government’s surveillance powers, offering all 17 departments that comprise the U.S. intelligence community free access to the information that the National Security Agency harvests from people everywhere.

With barely a week left to go in the Oval Office, Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed off on an Obama administration directive that allows the NSA to freely disseminate “raw signals intelligence information” to the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies, which were previously subject to privacy protections.

As the system worked before, NSA analysts would only hand off information to agencies like the CIA or the FBI after it had filtered out the identities of innocent people swept up in the surveillance efforts.

Now, for some inscrutable purpose, Obama has decided to quietly facilitate the creation of an American surveillance state by effectively making its citizens’ most private information freely accessible to a large swathe of the government.

Obama administration officials have been quick to note that the new rules will not allow the government to collect any new data that it had not already harvested, but the amount of data that the Obama administration has already mined from everyday Americans without ever obtaining warrants is infamously extensive.

As for why Obama decided to dismantle privacy rights in the eleventh hour of his presidency, some left-leaning outlets have tried to spin the move as a hedge against the incoming Trump administration.

The new rules will make it “harder for the incoming president to encroach even further on civil liberties,” The Atlantic reported, an argument so laughable that the publication timidly relies on a long-winded interview with a liberal think tank drone to defend it.

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