Rand Paul: What if the NSA’s spying on Obama?

posted at 8:41 pm on October 31, 2013 by Allahpundit

Someday, when a phone recording of O telling a friend “you might not be able to keep your plan if you like it” in 2009 finally surfaces, we’ll all know whom to thank. Then again, if Keith Alexander had dirt on Obama in his back pocket, would he really be headed for retirement? J. Edgar Hoover parlayed his own practices in this vein into Director-For-Life status at the FBI.

Maybe Greenwald’s saving this scoop for Christmas?

In light of a recent report, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) fears the National Security Agency may be spying on President Barack Obama. “They could well be spying on the president, for all I know,” Paul says, in an interview with National Review Online. “He has a cell phone, and, in fact, my guess is that they have collected data on the president’s phone.”

Paul also believes the federal government may be tracking Pope Francis. “The most important question we need to ask the NSA is, ‘Are you telling us you’re collecting no data on the pope?’ And, ‘Did you collect any information on him when he was the archbishop, while staying in a certain residence in Rome at the time of the election?’ I don’t think they’re telling the truth.”…

“I think they’re spying on every American,” he says. “It’s alarming and inexcusable if we’re spying on religious leaders around the world.”

I don’t know. I can think of a few religious leaders worth spying on, although the Pope’s not one of them. In theory there’s always a reason you might want to listen in on a head of state’s or religious leader’s calls — not so much for what he might say but for what might be said to him by the VIP he’s speaking to — but the PR disaster inherent in spying on the Pope (the Pope!) is so awful that the risk can’t possibly be justified. Frankly, Pope Francis seems nice enough that he’d probably let them listen in if they just asked nicely. But then, there’s no good reason to think the NSA’s actually doing this. The Vatican has no evidence of it; the NSA denies it; the Italian magazine that made the claim cited no source for it and, as far as I know, has no access to any document lifted by Edward Snowden that might conceivably prove it. Without further evidence, it smells like a publication pushing out something that’s thin yet irresistible in order to piggyback on the global attention paid to the NSA’s snooping on Angela Merkel. Maybe what happened is that the NSA was tapping some foreign leader’s phone and a call from that leader to the Pope got picked up? Or maybe the whole thing’s made up. More proof, please.

That being so, why is Paul eager to seize on the accusation about the Pope? Just good salesmanship, I assume. He likes to highlight the religious implications of libertarian policies wherever possible, knowing that this might increase their appeal to Christian conservatives (and his own appeal to voters in Republican primaries). His call to scale back foreign aid to the Middle East usually comes with a reminder that Arab Christians are under siege in Egypt and Syria. Why would we throw money around over there when some of it’s likely to end up being expropriated for persecution? Same with NSA spying. It’s more alarming that the feds might be hacking U.S. companies to steal data than it is that they might be spying on any foreign leader, religious or otherwise, but the pros and cons of that are more complex and technologically esoteric than saying “What the hell are we doing spying on the Pope?” Hard to fault him politically for going the route he’s going here — although I think John McCormack’s right that, all in all, Rand’s choice of what to focus on in the great surveillance/counterterrorism debate can seem a little … odd. Exit quotation: “Need someone to filibuster until Obama promises not to assassinate the pope with a drone.”



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Or David Petraeus, or Mitt Romney, or you or me?

d1carter on October 31, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) fears the National Security Agency may be spying on President Barack Obama

So what’s wrong with that ?
Maybe we’ll find out what Hussein was up to when Americans were being killed by his bretheren in Benghazi .

burrata on October 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM

I wish one of the Secret Service agents would just save America and do the right thing. Alas, they won’t ever tell what they know.

SouthernGent on October 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Uh, obama directs the NSA – he tells them who to spy on – WHY would he tell them to spy on him?

Pork-Chop on October 31, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Someday, when a phone recording of O telling a friend “you might not be able to keep your plan if you like it” in 2009 finally surfaces, we’ll all know whom to thank. Then again, if Keith Alexander had dirt on Obama in his back pocket, would he really be headed for retirement? J. Edgar Hoover parlayed his own practices in this vein into Director-For-Life status at the FBI.


N O T H I N G could be more delicious than Obama learning HE is being bugged by seeing it on the news.

PolAgnostic on October 31, 2013 at 8:47 PM

This should be an open thread as to what the NSA would find out.

E.g. Obama’s been taking secret lessons from C.C. Sabathia to learn not to throw like a girl.

22044 on October 31, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Wiretapping the Pope. I just feel like threads lately are getting too good to top and then another one comes along to raise the bar.

can_con on October 31, 2013 at 8:47 PM

In answer to the original question, nothing would happen…since boss runs it.

A better question would be:

What if the NSA spied on politicians and Supreme court justices… which they have from what we know…

..and maybe an administration with insiders decided to use that information to blackmail individuals for political purposes?

celt on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Their mandate is to protect against enemies foreign and domestic right?……

can_con on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

He’s on my enemies list!

KCB on October 31, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Alas, they won’t ever tell what they know. SouthernGent on October 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Or the myriad of 4 star Generals that have been canned because they disagree with Obama’s new direction…

katy on October 31, 2013 at 8:53 PM

What waste time spying on someone who doesn’t know anything?

FerdtheMoonCat on October 31, 2013 at 8:54 PM

If the NSA was listening in on the conversations of, say, Angela Merkel and Obama called her, then the spooks are indeed ‘spying’ on Obama.

Of course, since the NSA falls within Obama’s purview, he could easily order that it not listen to him. Obviously, that would require an executive that is in the loop and paying attention.

Resist We Much on October 31, 2013 at 8:54 PM

NSA is not spying. They are gather data on everyone on the planet. Why you think they need all those huge data centers?

d1carter on October 31, 2013 at 8:54 PM

A better question would be:

What if the NSA spied on politicians and Supreme court justices… which they have from what we know…

..and maybe an administration with insiders decided to use that information to blackmail individuals for political purposes?

celt on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

I have been thinking this all along, cuz why would someone who perportedly was so so much the conservative suddenly change to dem ways and support dem policy?

Either that, blackmailed, or the person faked us out from get go.

Le Sigh…

Scrumpy on October 31, 2013 at 8:55 PM

We could maybe learn what kind of rubbing lotion Reggie Love prefers.

hillsoftx on October 31, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Their mandate is to protect against enemies foreign and domestic right?……

can_con on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Mandate ? Isn’t that how Valerie explained Reggie Love to Hussein ?

burrata on October 31, 2013 at 8:56 PM

celt on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

That’s been going on from day one in 2008. They have the goods on Boehner and a host of other GOP’s that won’t do their jobs for some unexplained reason…cough cough.

They made a late night phone call to Justice Roberts the night before the ACA judgement too.

DC is run by the spooks and the thugs….

katy on October 31, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Quite a few changes in procedures from the years Reagan was POTUS.
.
During his terms it was standard procedure when any participant in any intercepted communication was identified as a US citizen, that intercept was terminated – IMMEDIATELY. That’s not hearsay, observed it happen frequently.

News2Use on October 31, 2013 at 8:57 PM

That being so, why is Paul eager to seize on the accusation about the Pope? Just good salesmanship, I assume.

Italian news media claims the US spied on the conclave before and during the election of the Pope.

workingclass artist on October 31, 2013 at 8:58 PM

I’d like to hear Hillary’s one and only 10pm phone call to #2 Gregory Hicks in Benghazi/Tripoli (#1 “Chris” being dead by then).

aquaviva on October 31, 2013 at 8:59 PM

While endearing on a personal level, I don’t see that Francis’ phone calls have that much intelligence value unless Argentine newspaper vendors and shoemakers have information on Al Qaeda that I wasn’t aware of. And going at the Pope angle is all about 2016 for Rand Paul.

Illinidiva on October 31, 2013 at 9:02 PM

OT…
megan kelly is hammering BHO on the rollout numbers…6…laffs SIX…6…

more rotten apples falling from the trees…
now what we need is BHO’s… ‘john dean’…

going2mars on October 31, 2013 at 9:07 PM

So does Hussein spy on those mullahs and ayatollas of iran and egypt too ?

burrata on October 31, 2013 at 9:08 PM

burrata on October 31, 2013 at 9:08 PM

he has them put into his blackberry in a “friends folder”…

going2mars on October 31, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Their mandate is to protect against enemies foreign and domestic right?……
can_con on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Their OATH to SUPPORT & DEFEND the CONSTITUTION, against both those enemies should take precedence, but I fear it is only a formality of spoken words to achieve personal gain for most in DC.

kafer on October 31, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Rand Paul: What if the NSA’s spying on Obama?

Then hopefully we could quickly learn how Obama’s next planning to screw us over.

Stoic Patriot on October 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Bombshell recording of Obama: “It was the strawberries. And geometric logic”

faraway on October 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

OT/…6 people signed up for ObamaCare the first day!

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2013 at 9:15 PM

…sorry…just saw the thread 2 below this one!

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2013 at 9:16 PM

That being so, why is Paul eager to seize on the accusation about the Pope? Just good salesmanship, I assume.

Cause it’s extremely creepy.

gophergirl on October 31, 2013 at 9:16 PM

During his terms it was standard procedure when any participant in any intercepted communication was identified as a US citizen, that intercept was terminated – IMMEDIATELY. That’s not hearsay, observed it happen frequently.

News2Use on October 31, 2013 at 8:57 PM

What’s distressing is the number of US “citizens” that we should be listening to and are “missing”.

If Dzhokhar survives the manhunt, if he’s convicted of setting the bombs at the Boston Marathon, — he’s still a citizen. Leopold was clear on this point. The government can’t simply revoke citizenship because it wants to. If it found that Dzhokhar’s application for naturalization was fraudulent, it could. Which, Leopold indicated, might include the government deciding that his sworn oath was insincere.

AesopFan on October 31, 2013 at 9:17 PM

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2013 at 9:16 PM

this should be the common comedy topic in all of todays threads..

megan is rippin another lib right now…

going2mars on October 31, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Oh No’sssss, ……………………………………….

NSA surveillance programs leaked

China, Southeast Asia demand explanation following media reports that local embassies were used for NSA spying – @AP

8 mins ago from bigstory.ap.org by editor
=============================================

Asian nations angry over US embassy spy reports
By KRISTEN GELINEAU
— Oct. 31, 2013 9:03 PM EDT
****************************

SYDNEY (AP) — China and Southeast Asian governments demanded an explanation from the U.S. and its allies following media reports that American and Australian embassies in the region were being used as hubs for Washington’s secret electronic data collection program.

The reports come amid an international outcry over allegations the U.S. has spied on the telephone communications of as many as 35 foreign leaders.

A document from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, published this week by German magazine Der Spiegel, describes a signals intelligence program called “Stateroom” in which U.S., British, Australian and Canadian embassies secretly house surveillance equipment to collect electronic communications. Those countries, along with New Zealand, have an intelligence-sharing agreement known as “Five Eyes.”

“China is severely concerned about the reports, and demands a clarification and explanation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday.

Australia’s Fairfax media reported Thursday that the Australian embassies involved are in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili in East Timor; and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Fairfax report, based on the Der Spiegel document and an interview with an anonymous former intelligence officer, said those embassies are being used to intercept phone calls and internet data across Asia.

In a statement, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said his government “cannot accept and strongly protests the news of the existence of wiretapping facilities at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.”

“It should be emphasized that if confirmed, such action is not only a breach of security, but also a serious breach of diplomatic norms and ethics, and certainly not in tune with the spirit of friendly relations between nations,” he said.

The Snowden document said the surveillance equipment is concealed, including antennas that are “sometimes hidden in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds.”

Des Ball, a top Australian intelligence expert, told The Associated Press he had personally seen covert antennas in five of the embassies named in the Fairfax report.

He declined to go into further detail or specify which embassies those were. But Ball said what Der Spiegel has revealed is hardly surprising or uncommon. Many countries have routinely used embassies as bases to covertly listen in on phone calls, and reports of such surveillance have been public for decades, he said.

“We use embassies to pick up stuff that we can’t pick up from ground stations here in Australia — and lots of countries do that,” said Ball, a professor with the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

According to the Snowden document, the spying sites are small in size and staff. “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned,” it said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on the reports. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said only that the government had not broken any laws.

“Every Australian governmental agency, every Australian official, at home and abroad, operates in accordance with the law,” Abbott told reporters. “And that’s the assurance that I can give people.”

Still, there was predictable outrage in the countries named in the document.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said his government viewed the allegations as a serious matter and would investigate whether the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was being used for spying. The country’s opposition party issued a statement Thursday urging the Malaysian government to lodge a protest with both the U.S. and Australian embassies.

Thailand’s National Security Council Secretary-General, Lt. Gen. Paradorn Pattanathabutr, said the government told the U.S. that spying was a crime under Thai laws, and that Thailand would not cooperate if asked to help eavesdrop.

Asked about the Australian embassy allegations, he said Australians are not capable of doing such sophisticated surveillance work.

“When it comes to technology and mechanics, the U.S. is more resourceful and more advanced than Australia,” he said. “So I can say that it is not true that the Australian embassy will be used as a communications hub for spying.”

___

Associated Press writers Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok, Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur and researcher Zhao Liang in Beijing contributed to this report.
===========================

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/china-other-asian-angry-over-embassy-spy-reports

canopfor on October 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

OT/…6 people signed up for ObamaCare the first day!

KOOLAID2 on October 31, 2013 at 9:15 PM

$100 million per policy

faraway on October 31, 2013 at 9:25 PM

What if the NSA’s spying on Obama?

If they are, they are clearly not letting that information get anywhere.
Unlike the leaky Obama administration itself.

Count to 10 on October 31, 2013 at 9:40 PM

must be hard work to stand up in front of a microphone every day and come up with sound bites.

what’s rand done?
where dose he stand?

renalin on October 31, 2013 at 9:42 PM

Obama just read in the paper today that TOTUS has been spreading lies about keeping health insurance plans.

He’s going to get to the bottom of it. He’s going to pivot to this as his first priority.

faraway on October 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

If they are spying on 0bama they certainly can’t be getting any intelligence … or anything intelegent anyway.

VorDaj on October 31, 2013 at 9:47 PM

I wish one of the Secret Service agents would just save America and do the right thing. Alas, they won’t ever tell what they know.

SouthernGent on October 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM

I’m not sure what is in this book, but there is an article here:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/ex-secret-service-agent-charges-pattern-of-drunkenness-by-traveling-obama-aides/article/2537551

bluefox on October 31, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Obama just read in the paper today that TOTUS has been spreading lies about keeping health insurance plans.

He’s going to get to the bottom of it. He’s going to pivot to this as his first priority.

faraway on October 31, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Ok that’s very clever and funny.

SparkPlug on October 31, 2013 at 9:52 PM

In his about to start trial, Morsi may squeal on his co-conspirator, Obama, to save himself from the noose.

VorDaj on October 31, 2013 at 9:53 PM

That’s been going on from day one in 2008. They have the goods on Boehner and a host of other GOP’s that won’t do their jobs for some unexplained reason…cough cough.

They made a late night phone call to Justice Roberts the night before the ACA judgement too.

katy

LOL, keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better, but the reality is they’ve done what they’ve done all on their own. And that’s way scarier than any concerns about NSA spying.

xblade on October 31, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Whaddyawannabet that they bugged the Chief Justice’s phone. Do you think maybe they found something that made him cry the day that they released the PPACA decision? Maybe that’s why the Majority Opinion was written like the minority position and vise-versa.

Medbob on October 31, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Des Ball, a top Australian intelligence expert, told The Associated Press he had personally seen covert antennas in five of the embassies named in the Fairfax report.

But Ball said what Der Spiegel has revealed is hardly surprising or uncommon. Many countries have routinely used embassies as bases to covertly listen in on phone calls, and reports of such surveillance have been public for decades, he said.

“We use embassies to pick up stuff that we can’t pick up from ground stations here in Australia — and lots of countries do that,” said Ball, a professor with the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

canopfor on October 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Oh, boy. So that’s no surprise at all to Mr. Ball and then he goes on to admit it!!! LOL It’s not covert now, Mr. Ball!! ROFL

Well, clearly China & the other Asian Governments didn’t know it was known “publicly” for decades. Good grief!!

bluefox on October 31, 2013 at 10:10 PM

What are they gonna get? It’s far too early for the Sweet Sixteen picks, and we already know his golf and bowling scores. The crunching sound as he wolfs down an illicit chili dog when the Yeti is on vacation? The sound of his grape stompers slamming down on the Resolute Desk? Seriously, what?

Maddie on October 31, 2013 at 10:23 PM

canopfor on October 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Oh, boy. So that’s no surprise at all to Mr. Ball and then he goes on to admit it!!! LOL It’s not covert now, Mr. Ball!! ROFL

Well, clearly China & the other Asian Governments didn’t know it was known “publicly” for decades. Good grief!!

bluefox on October 31, 2013 at 10:10 PM

bluefox:

Agreed, and everybody is spying on everyone else.

With the War on Terror, and even before that, I have no problem what the
Land of the Free does, to keep one step ahead, of any other country,and
yes, that includes Canada!

But, I am giddy, that its on Obama’s Watch, and his Socialist Progressive
Regime,er, Administration is getting the blow-back, haha!–:)

canopfor on October 31, 2013 at 11:26 PM

It’s normal for Rand Paul to raise libertarian issues, especially those that go over into liberal territory. Liberals thought they were above all this, but it’s become clear that their idols are quite OK with employing the hated machinery of the Bush administration. In fact, they are proud of the fact that they are spying on everyone so thoroughly and Paul is just pointing out the obvious.

The despicable Clapper had the gall to say “everyone does it, so what!” Everyone doesn’t do it and not so indiscriminately and to the scale that has been revealed. This is out of control and many liberals are parting company with Obama on this.

For now, Obama doesn’t care because he thinks he will always be in power, either personally or through his cronies. This is how gangsters think.

virgo on November 1, 2013 at 12:53 AM

But then, there’s no good reason to think the NSA’s actually doing this. The Vatican has no evidence of it; the NSA denies it; the Italian magazine that made the claim cited no source for it and, as far as I know, has no access to any document lifted by Edward Snowden that might conceivably prove it.

“as far as you know” …teh funny

As if you’ve researched all the documents yourself, or even studied the research conducted by a think tank of the Snowden exposition.

There’s no reason to claim that the NSA isn’t accumulating surveillance indiscriminately. That is what the NSA was designed to do, despite any claims to the contrary. It would take a huge effort to exercise discrimination, excise data deemed taboo; not to mention, the word “discriminate” has been warped by PC idiots into something racist.

It’s the publicity that is telling. Obama is no longer the Prince of Peace in anyone’s book. He’s been found wanting by all concerned. And his tenure in office is now wounded lame duck, open season. Migration won’t help him. He’s not welcome abroad. No one likes him, and he doesn’t like anyone.

He’s such a pompous imbecile, he won’t even show up to the 150 year commemoration of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Golf game.

Obama chickens out, skips Gettysburg ceremony – commentary

Obama will be a no-show at the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

For a president who has so demonstrably associated himself with Lincoln – the heir of Lincoln’s policies who announced his candidacy from the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield and used the Lincoln Bible (twice) at his inauguration – this is nothing less than a profile in cowardice.

In the end, Barack Obama simply didn’t have the stones.
Lincoln’s legacy did not live up to the challenge.

The Patriot-News, Central PA

maverick muse on November 1, 2013 at 5:47 AM

They need to release the tapes!

bluegill on November 1, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Leakie, leakie!

Kissmygrits on November 1, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Moderate Republicans of course love NSA spying, don’t they? Peter King probably thinks we should spy on the Pope and Obama shouldn’t be sorry about it. and I’m sure McCain and Graham could get on board with that. If the wacko birds would just sit down and be quiet think of what we could accomplish. We could have amnesty and a bigger more powerful NSA for when Chris Krispy is President. But first we must subdue all of those tea party folks who got us the house majority in 2010. With them its always, “liberty this and freedom that”… deploy the white boards, bloggers attack! We need reasonable people who take care of the moneyed interests and don’t worry about tedious conservative principles so we can govern and stuff.

magicbeans on November 1, 2013 at 9:19 AM

I wouldn’t be surprised if the content discussed in this interview becomes hugely significant

Remember way back when Snowden first began his whistleblowing, telling Americans that their 4th Amendment Rights were being trampled on, by their Big Government, he said that he was authorized to spy on ‘anyone’ …. up to and including the President of The United States …

He also said that the NSA mantra was “collect it all”.

He also said that there was much more to come ….

What say this guy has taken something on The Spitehouse Phoney that is really explosive … and I mean really, really explosive … .’explosive’ in the category of UNPRECEDENTED in all of US history?

… and this gem is scheduled to drop in the public arena … when the time is right/optimum … (and with Barry sinking in the Polls it could be sooner rather than later)

It’s no wonder that those [Patriots] working with Snowden have helped him set up a Dead Man’s switch …. HE SURELY NEEDS IT

Snowden’s movements internationally will be extremely interesting to follow, IMV. Currently he is employed by the Russian Govt to maintain some important website …

If he ends up departing Russia in the future … I think it might be fasten your seat belt time ….

DEO VOLENTE

exodus2011 on November 1, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Would the irony not be EXTREME if the One who instructed that the 4th Amendment Rights of American Citizens be violated, had his own 4th Amendment Rights violated?

can you say HOISTED on your own PETARD?

or better, HUNG OUT TO DRY on your own PRISM?

may it be so

DEO VOLENTE

exodus2011 on November 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM