[Obama] argued that “modest encroachments on privacy” were “worth us doing” to protect the country, and he said that Congress and the courts had authorized those programs.
A National Security Agency telephone surveillance program collects phone numbers and the duration of calls, not the content, he said. An Internet surveillance program targets foreigners living abroad, not Americans, he added.
“There are some trade-offs involved,” Mr. Obama said. “I came with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly.” In the end, he concluded that “they help us prevent terrorist attacks.”
A modest encroachment, indeed. Leaving off references to this absolutely Orwellian phrase as used by the President in the above quoted piece, Google (praise be upon it) can find fewer than 800 times these words occur in sequence on a web page or other crawled document. That is, the usage of this term is not perhaps so rare as jabberwock sightings, but it is not far off.
Here’s the thing, Mr. President, the determining factor in whether or not the government should do something is not tied to its helping us prevent terrorist attacks or any other arguable good thing. Government should be doing those things which are constitutional and comport with the rule of law.