(NaturalNews) "When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That's not what this program is about."
That was President Obama following a speech he gave in San Jose, Calif., June 7, in response to a report by The Guardian newspaper that the National Security Administration (NSA) and the FBI had demanded and received the phone records of tens of millions of Americans in the name of "national security," though few if any Americans targeted had even tenuous connections to extremist elements.
In the days following that report, the whisleblower who leaked the information to the British newspaper, Edward Snowden, said that the NSA had constructed an electronic intercept network capable, in his words, of targeting anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Whom do you believe?
"Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President," he told the paper. "We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."
Who's lying? Based on this president's growing history of scandal, I think the answer to that question is pretty simple - and it's likely not Snowden.
Here's more from his interview:
-- "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."
-- "Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded. ...it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."
-- "The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."
Is he making this up? Consider a couple of points and you be the judge.
What's Snowden got to lose? Everything
First, Snowden is an analyst for the NSA; he is a former analyst for the CIA, so he's an "insider." Further, Snowden was living very comfortably, in Hawaii of all places, as an NSA analyst, making a good salary and living with a girlfriend. So it's not like he was in financial dire straits or suffering much of a hardship.
What's more, since disclosing the NSA's vast electronic spying network, Snowden has been incognito in Hong Kong, a Chinese enclave known as a bastion of free speech. If he was lying and could be easily discredited, what is the point of hiding?
Also, before Snowden's bombshell revelations, others have consistently voiced concerns that the government's electronic snooping capabilities were growing. These concerns have been exacerbated considering the NSA is currently building the world's largest data-mining facility in Utah (http://www.naturalnews.com/035386_NSA_data_center_spying.html). For extra security the $1.5 billion facility is being built inside a National Guard base (the NSA's Washington, D.C.-area headquarters is located inside an active duty Army base, Fort Meade, home to the military's Defense Information School).
So, have you decided yet whom you believe to be telling the truth - Obama or Snowden? For my money, I'm betting on the analyst.