Boy, they really convince themselves we don’t have memories, don’t they?
WASHINGTON — A former top aide to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) fired back at the Obama administration this weekend, challenging the president’s assertion Friday that he welcomed a debate on privacy and national security and that Congress had been fully briefed.
Jennifer Hoelzer was a longtime aide to Wyden until recently, and vented her frustration in a way she couldn’t as his communications director or deputy chief of staff. Hoelzer wrote on TechDirt that she was stunned to see President Obama claim he wanted such a conversation after she had worked for years to beg and plead with the administration to declassify material so that an actual debate could take place.
Really, Mr. President? Do you really expect me to believe that you give a damn about open debate and the democratic process? Because it seems to me if your Administration was really committed those things, your Administration wouldn’t have blocked every effort to have an open debate on these issues each time the laws that your Administration claims authorizes these programs came up for reauthorization, which — correct me if I am wrong — is when the democratic process recommends as the ideal time for these debates.
For example, in June 2009, six months before Congress would have to vote to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the Obama Administration claims gives the NSA the authority to collect records on basically every American citizen — whether they have ever or will ever come in contact with a terrorist — Senators Wyden, Feingold and Durbin sent Attorney General Eric Holder a classified letter “requesting the declassification of information which argued was critical for a productive debate on reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act.”
Go read the whole thing, it’s terrific. And horrifying.