The headline said it all. “Edward Snowden Vindicated: Obama Speech Acknowledges Changes Needed To Surveillance."
That was Huffington Post reporting yesterday on a speech by President Obama on the future of the National Security Agency.
President Barack Obama said he would require judicial review of requests to query phone call databases and ordered officials to devise a way to take storage of that data out of the government’s hands.
Huffpo described it as "a series of modest reforms to the way the agency does business," adding that Obama also reluctantly acknowledged that "the secret surveillance programs that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed needed changing.”
The word ‘traitor’ didn’t appear once. Obama said, “ The task before us now is greater than simply repairing the damage done to our operations; or preventing more disclosures from taking place in the future.
"Instead, we have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals -- and our Constitution -- require."
Huffpo said Obama's remarks were grudging toward Snowden, who fled to Russia after his leaks were made public and has been charged with violating the Espionage Act.
The president said he was "not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or motivations," and that "our nation’s defense depends in part on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation’s secrets."
Obama's embarrassment was compounded a day earlier when a day earlier , The New York Times reported that Obama himself was unaware until Snowden's disclosures that the NSA was tapping the phones of foreign leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Obama said yesterday there was an inevitable bias not only within the intelligence community, but among all who are responsible for national security, to collect more information about the world, not less.” The danger of government overreach becomes more acute, “said the President.
Huffpo said Snowden’s supporters would regard the speech and the changes it telegraphs will as a major vindication.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden told The Washington Post last month. “I already won. I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”