An investigation by the Guardian has recently revealed the shocking extent of government surveillance of Americans and foreign nationals under the Obama administration, highlighting how little has changed since the Bush-era despite Obama's stinging criticism of the Bush administration's surveillance policies while campaigning in 2007.
During a campaign speech, Obama accused the Bush administration of acting "like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security." And yet this is exactly what his government is doing now, and as under Bush it is all justified in the name of "national security."
The Guardian has revealed that not only is the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers "regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing," but it has also been monitoring internet communications for years through a program called PRISM which collects details of emails, video and voice chats, videos, photos, stored data, file transfers, etc from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube, and Skype.
During his speech, Obama accused the Bush administration of "putting forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide" and promised that under his leadership there would be "no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens" and "no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime."
Obama has defended the current practices, but while they may be technically legal, they reveal the hypocrisy of his 2007 speech and the idea that there would be significant changes regarding surveillance practices under an Obama administration. This proof of the continuing abuse of the label "national security" to justify eroding civil liberties is further evidence of the many glaring disjunctures between the rhetoric of Obama the presidential candidate, and actions of Obama the president.