Remember when Obama said he would have engaged in a dramatic overhaul of the NSA with or without Edwards Snowden? Funny as that statement may have been at the time (and recall that Comedians have psychotic personality traits, study finds), we will never know just what Obama would have done if... but we do know that at 11 am this morning, Obama will say he is ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone "metadata" program from the way the NSA currently handles it. In other words, if you like your phone records, you can keep your phone records. It goes without saying that the number of people who believe anything the president says at this point is the same number or less than the dozen or so Chinese enthusiasts who waited in "line" to get a new China Mobile phone.
Obama is balancing public anger at the disclosure of intrusion into Americans' privacy with his commitment to retain policies he considers critical to protecting the United States.
Obama's move is aimed at restoring Americans' confidence in U.S. intelligence practices and caps months of reviews by the White House in the wake of damaging disclosures about U.S. surveillance tactics from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In a nod to privacy advocates, Obama will say he has decided that the government should not hold the bulk telephone metadata, a decision that could frustrate some intelligence officials. In addition, he will order that effectively immediately, "we will take steps to modify the program so that a judicial finding is required before we query the database," said the senior official, who revealed details of the speech on condition of anonymity.
So... the NSA will promptly dismantle its Stazi-inspired "Stellar Wind" facility with all the big hard disks in Bluffdale, Utah, right? Right? That's what we thought.
The fun continues:
Obama has asked Attorney General Eric Holder and the intelligence community to report back to him before the program comes up for reauthorization on March 28 on how to preserve the necessary capabilities of the program, without the government holding the metadata.
"At the same time, he will consult with the relevant committees in Congress to seek their views," the official said.
While a presidential advisory panel had recommended that the bulk data be controlled by a third party such as the telephone companies, Obama will not offer a specific proposal for who should store the data in the future.
Well if nobody else wants it, we are sure a consortium of Goldman and JPMorgan would be delighted to "host" this data... Finally, even more lies:
People familiar with the administration's deliberations say Obama also is expected to agree to other reforms, such as greatly scaling back spying on foreign leaders and putting a public advocate on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
We LOLed too. Tune in at 11:00 am, or just around the time today's $3 billion POMO ends, for much more live, televized humor.