Climb aboard the TARDIS campers, we’re going to take a magic YouTube voyage to a strange parallel universe, very much like ours, except Barack Obama sports a dashing goatee and… Sorry, what’s that? Not a parallel universe, you say? August of 2007, you say?
Wait, that can’t be right. Because right around 20 seconds in, Barack Obama says that under his administration, there would be “no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.” That’s not who we are, he says! Not what’s needed to fight terrorists, he says!
And yet his Justice Department has quietly but steadfastly fought any effort to limit the use of National Security Letters. When Democratic lawmakers attempted to require that these administrative subpoenas, issued by FBI agents without judicial supervision, be issued only to obtain the records of suspected terrorists or foreign agents or people they’d been in contact with—or if necessary to obtain records relevant to the activities of suspected terrorists in the interest of identifying specific individuals—the administration worked behind the scenes to rally Republicans and Blue Dogs against those changes.
You know, a few more years like this, I’m liable to run right out of Hope™.