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January 17, 2014 3:37 PM Poor Befuddled Americans and Their Privacy Concerns

By Ed Kilgore

Greg Sargent asks via Twitter what this statement issued by John Boehner in response to the president’s speech on NSA actually means:

Our national security programs exist to root out terrorist threats and save American lives - and they have. Because the president has failed to adequately explain the necessity of these programs, the privacy concerns of some Americans are understandable. When considering any reforms, however, keeping Americans safe must remain our top priority. When lives are at stake, the president must not allow politics to cloud his judgment. I look forward to learning more about how the new procedure for accessing data will not put Americans at greater risk. And the House will review any legislative reforms proposed by the administration, but we will not erode the operational integrity of critical programs that have helped keep America safe.

Looks like Boehner’s saying Obama’s reforms probably go too far, and are politically motivated, but hey, he can understand why Americans have been confused by Obama’s wretched lily-livered defense of the War on Terror and thus are wrongly worried about their privacy.

The bottom line might be expressed as a desire for the president to be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Just saying that—or permanently emblazoning it at the top of the Speaker’s website, under the headline “Damned Obama!”—would save everybody a lot of time and trouble.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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