Originally published: January 17, 2014
Last updated: January 17, 2014 - 9:42pm
[Commentary] President Obama’s surveillance speech was primarily an exercise in pretty rhetoric. The concessions to public outcry still reveal a man determined to retain control of the narrative. Strengthening executive branch control of intelligence may help prevent misuse of data, but it could also increase secrecy by locking down a leak-free chain of command under a chief executive who has gone after more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined, in addition to attempting to muzzle the journalists reporting the leaked information. President Obama claimed that Snowden’s “unauthorized disclosures” came just before some plans he had to start “a more robust public discussion about the balance between security and liberty,” but his dismissal of the undeniably robust reporting and discussion spurred by Snowden -- they “shed more heat than light,” President Obama said -- shows a continuing aversion to any tale that he isn’t telling.