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Flip flop

Published June 14. 2013 05:03PM

In today's electronic age, it's hard for government officials to try to dupe the public on the facts, but this White House is certainly trying its best.

It was only about a month ago that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told us with a straight face on national television that the three separate scandals which have been consuming President Obama's second term really aren't happening!

"You're concocting scandals that don't exist," Carney said after a show host asked how the Obama administration would "restore the faith that some Americans have lost" in its transparency.

Carney said that the scandal surrounding the attacks in Benghazi, which cost the lives of ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was "a faux controversy stirred up by Republicans." He predicted the controversy would fall apart within the week.

That was a month ago, and today we're still waiting for answers to that and the two other "non-existant" scandals.

The one scandal that strikes a nerve with every American involves our privacy. Stories about the IRS targeting conservative non-profit groups are bad enough but when we hear reports about the government snooping into our phone records and emails, it definitely hits home.

Gathering email evidence without a warrant is not constitutional without a valid legal reason. The administration says the data mining is being done for reasons of national security and the safety of all Americans. But not too long ago this president told us that the war on terrorism is over. With that comment, one can determine that there would be less surveillance or mining of data on citizens, not more.

Both president Obama and vice president Biden have done flip-flops on the privacy issue.

In 2006, Biden said in a CBS interview: "I don't have to listen to your phone calls to know what you're doing. If I know every single phone call you made, I'm able to determine every single person you talked to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive."

Now part of team Obama, Biden is mute on the National Security Agency's expanded surveillance efforts.

Obama also needs to explain why he has expanded the existing surveillance methods.

In 2005, as a U.S. Senator, he was worried about how the Patriot Act would expand into an individual's private life without proper oversight.

In his own words: "This is legislation that puts our own Justice Department above the law. If someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through the library books that you read, through the phone calls that you made, the emails that you sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law."

In 2007, then candidate Obama also charged the Bush Administration with putting forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.

"I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom," Obama told us. "That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are."

Obama, Biden and press secretary Carney, who Rep. Darrell Issa has dubbed "a paid liar" of the administration, have some explaining to do.

By Jim Zbick

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