WASHINGTON — News broke Thursday morning that the Obama administration’s previous scandals were not enough. Now, they admit that they are collecting phone records from Verizon, which is one of the major carriers in the U.S.
The story, broken by the British newspaper The Guardian, says that the federal government issued a secret court order that forced Verizon’s hand. Verizon was not allowed to divulge any detail or mention how it had to hand over these records to the U.S. government.
The identity of the callers or content is not available to the U.S. government, a senior administration official who spoke to Reuters, but only the telephone number and length of a call. Still, it is not reassuring to Americans that the government is using the PATRIOT Act to access millions of American’s phone records without prior knowledge or consultation.
One of the most worrisome aspects is how it is not targeting a suspicious group, but the general population of Americans. Instead of being used to find terrorists and potential threats, it looks like the government is creating a database of sorts on their citizens.
This adds to the criticism over Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, wiretapping the phones of the news outlet Associated Press (AP). The AP has since complained that no one wants to speak to their reporters due to the fear of government monitoring. In addition, the IRS scandal and targeting of Tea Party groups and the misinformation about the Benghazi attacks on the U.S. consulate are weighing down on the Obama administration. Obama added more fuel to the flames by saying Holder did not lie to Congress about AP wiretapping, in addition to naming Susan Rice to become his national security adviser. This was after she misinformed the American public by saying an amateur video started the attack and not terrorists (which was later proven to be false).
As Twitter exploded with comments, one must ask whether George Orwell’s fear of Big Brother is coming to fruition. Is it ‘1984’ under Obama?