George W. Obama Photo Goes Viral: Mocks Obama For NSA Scandal, Executing Bush-Era Domestic Spying Tactics
A provocative photo combining the images of George W. Bush and Barack Obama has gone viral in light of the news that the National Security Agency has been demanding that Verizon turn over phone records on all of its subscribers.
The "George W. Obama" picture ran on the front page of the Huffington Post along with a story about the NSA's surveillance story on Friday. The photo is being used to personify what critics see as President Obama's embracing of Bush-era terror policies. During the Bush administration, then-Senator Obama criticized similar tactics that are currently being employed by the NSA.
Many critics have bashed the NSA's surveillance polices as warrantless spying on the American people by its government, and are quick to point out that Obama has criticized such programs in the past. During a 2007 campaign speech, Obama is quoted as saying, "That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens ... No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime," ZapIt.com reports.
Now, the president is defending his administration's broad surveillance operations by arguing that checks and balances ensure privacy concerns were addressed.
"These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate," Obama said in a speech on Friday. "And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up."
Nonetheless, those on the Left say that the oversight measures are not adequate. Journalist/author James Bamford told the Associated Press Obama has actually ramped up the Bush policies.
"Here we are, under the Obama administration, doing it sort of like the Bush administration on steroids," says Bamford. "This order here is about as broad as it can possibly get, when it comes to focusing on personal communications. There's no warrant, there's no suspicion, there's no probable cause ... it sounds like something from East Germany."
Revelations of massive data collection by the NSA have prompted a blame game between the White House and Congress over how much responsibility each has for the program, reports the HuffPo.
While the administration sought to share responsibility for the surveillance, which reportedly gathered phone records from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Nextel customers, lawmakers have not readily accepted it.