Voice of the People: Play the tapes

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Voice of the People by James J. Devineby James J. Devine

The National Security Agency, the Department of Justice and President Obama escaped a lot of heat over government spying on civilians as attention to concerning our intelligence gathering was diverted by leaks about al-Qaeda’s so-called Legion of Doom conference call.

There appears to be no investigation of the three anonymous spooks who informed The Daily Beast and at least one unidentified federal official that spoke to McClatchy newspapers about the al-Qaeda conference call intercepted over the Internet.

Heroic whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning vanished from the news as front pages reported that the U.S. government ordered the closing of 22 embassies across the Middle East and Africa due to national security threats.

If the NSA intercepted an Internet conference call among more than 20 al-Qaeda jihadists, including bin-Laden replacement Ayman al-Zawahiri, then Americans should hear the unedited Arabic recording.

For a week, 19 of the embassies remained closed due to alleged safety concerns, so citizens deserve to know if this was all a hoax.

The Obama administration has been criticized on numerous occasions for leaking classified information for political gain, despite its own aggressive war against whistleblowers.

During a press conference on Friday, Obama denounced Snowden for revealing the portions of the federal government’s global surveillance programs while taking credit for wanting to bring transparency to the intelligence community.

The sentencing phase of Manning’s trial is a process lacking any of the real transparency that the public deserves from the military.

Secrecy and lies have become all too common among government leaders, but power in America still belongs to the people.

Obama administration want us to believe Snowden, a former NSA contractor, and Manning, once an Army private, deserve life in prison for inflicting harm to our national security because they revealed that the government is guilty of gross negligence, wreckless civil rights violations, indiscriminate manslaughter and covering up misconduct.

The bad guys already know we tapped into their communications if this is not an elaborate deception, so there should be no operational excuse for maintaining secrecy.

Until I hear al-Zawahiri and his Legion of Doom cohorts plotting to kill Americans, I am tempted to wonder if the federal government’s surveillance programs, military adventures and fundamental dishonesty are greater dangers to liberty, equality, prosperity and justice.

Such fundamental doubt and distrust are antithetical to a democratic republic, especially one as politically polarized along partisan lines as the United States is today.


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