The New York Times editorial board ripped the Obama administration in a scathing editorial Thursday afternoon, writing that it has “now lost all credibility” after revelations that the administration has been collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers.
It came as something of a surprise, considering the board’s normally friendly view toward the administration.
But in the editorial, the Times’ board criticised the Obama administration in much of the same way it scrutinized the Bush administration. It wrote that the Obama administration’s justification for the program — the Patriot Act — is not good enough:
Mr. Obama clearly had no intention of revealing this eavesdropping, just as he would not have acknowledged the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, had it not been reported in the press. Even then, it took him more than a year and a half to acknowledge the killing, and he is still keeping secret the protocol by which he makes such decisions.
We are not questioning the legality under the Patriot Act of the court order disclosed by The Guardian. But we strongly object to using that power in this manner. It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed, when he said in 2007 that the Bush administration’s surveillance policy “puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.”
The editorial board called for the Patriot Act to be “sharply curtailed, if not repealed.”
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