Yes, President Obama, you’re spying on Americans

Rest easy, folks, President Barack Obama wants to assure you that the government isn’t spying on Americans, despite reports that the National Security Agency is collecting phone data of virutally every cell phone and Internet user in the country.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” President Obama declared during an appearance on The Tonight Show. “What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat. And that information is useful.”

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who recently pushed an unsuccessful amendment to limit NSA data collection, contests that assertion.

“There is a program — that the Director of National Intelligence declassified, they’ve revealed it — that collects the records of every single American in the United States, regardless of whether they’re connected to any terrorist threat,” Amash told Laura Ingraham on Wednesday. “So when he says we’re tracking phone records and emails of people who are just connected to terrorist threats, that’s not true.”

President Obama is being purposefully misleading. As far as we know, the government isn’t listening in on the phone conversations that Americans have on a daily basis. We do now know, however, that they are reading emails from Americans outside the country without warrant.

But listening to conversations and reading emails are not the limitations of spying, which is something that President Obama doesn’t want to admit.

What the federal government is doing is using a section of the PATRIOT Act, far outside the intent of the provision, to obtain data from third-parties on Americans accused of no crime to build a substantial database. That is indeed a form of spying.

Though he acknowledged that the programs give the government “significant powers,” President Obama told Jay Leno, host of the NBC talk show, that there no evidence that the programs have been abused.

The fact that these programs are being used to spy on Americans is abuse. The Fourth Amendment very specifically protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures. And yet it is apparently the contention of President Obama that the government can obtain very sensitive data, without any suspicion of a crime, just simply to have it.

It goes without saying that if President Obama’s lips are moving when he talks about this or any number of other issues, he’s probably lying.

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