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Confused about Obama’s NSA reform speech? You’re not alone. Here’s his alternative announcement

NSA-Verizon-Phone-Flag

By Simon Davies

For everyone who is confused about President Obama’s true position on NSA reform, here’s the alternative speech that tells you exactly what he meant to say.

MR OBAMA: My fellow Americans, and others.

Many years ago some important people got together in a room and put their names to a set of rules that would henceforth become the bedrock of our nation. That set of rules is our Constitution – the founding principles of freedom..

President Obama: we need to be responsible by supporting current public opinion

President Obama: we need to be responsible by supporting current public opinion

Quite rightly, these people were acting partly out of fear of abuse by government authority. But ironically, they were exactly the sort of people whose troublemaking politics and personal failings would have interested the government.

Nevertheless, that document has helped make America the great nation it is today, and none of us could imagine our greatness without it.

But we must remember that the constitution might never have been born. Anti-federalists and subversives conspired to destroy it.

If America had a National Security Agency back in 1787 this threat to our rights would have been lessened. All of us need therefore to remember that the idea of national security is very much cemented to the idea of freedom, and anyone who says otherwise has no concept of subjunctive history.

Over the past six months this great buttress of rights and freedoms – intelligence gathering – has been put to the test of public opinion. And even though it has won that test (72 percent in our favour in the last poll) we must always keep our minds open to making our intelligence services even better. .

I can now safely revert to a responsible reform package.  And by “responsible”, I mean minimalist.

Now that we know the majority of Americans don’t support Edward Snowden – and that the vast majority are in favour of not being murdered in their beds – I can now safely revert to a responsible reform package.  And by “responsible”, I mean minimalist

I want first to address the big issue of the moment, which I’ve decided is phone data.

It is, in my view, entirely wrong for the NSA to keep a giant centralised database of the phone records of ordinary decent Americans. I have therefore asked an un-named senior official to draw up options for making industry responsible for maintaining this data in a lot of separate giant databases. This is also a cheaper option, enabling your government to provide better healthcare.

People ask me how the NSA can know if a person is an ordinary decent American. The answer is that they can’t know unless they collect data on everyone. Or at least, unless the companies collect data on everyone, which they do anyway, so nothing has changed.

I can give a commitment before you now that it is not the intention of the NSA to collect sensitive information on ordinary decent Americans. The collection is incidental, and I can assure you under my reforms that data will be eliminated as soon as the innocence of those people has been established.

People ask me how the NSA can know if a person is an ordinary decent American. The answer is that they can’t know unless they collect data on everyone.

And by reducing the ambit of suspicion from three degrees of separation from a known suspect to two degrees of separation, less than half of Americans will be subjected to surveillance – after their data has been collected and analysed of course.

Leaders of friendly countries overseas need not fear surveillance by the NSA. Such operations will instead be conducted in the future by the CIA, which should have been the situation in the first place.

I have also taken the unprecedented step of extending protections to non-US persons, meaning that everyone will be entitled to enjoy mass data collection regardless of nationality.

Concern has been expressed that these new safeguards will imperil Americans. This is not so. The NSA’s partner agency, the United Kingdom’s GCHQ, has authority under our secret agreements to spy on Americans, thus ensuring that there aren’t any gaps in the surveillance matrix.

I could of course have extended my reform to other aspects of the NSA’s work, such as traditional SIGINT, email and text snooping, submarine cable and satellite interception, backdoor access to companies, technological subversion, sabotage, espionage and IT standards rigging, but we must proceed with caution. There are bad people out there who must never be allowed to believe that we have been panicked into a knee-jerk response.

I can assure you that these reforms will be implemented so smoothly that you won’t even know they’ve happened.

Good night, and God bless America.

And others.