White House Stealth Campaign to Support Immigration Bil

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Doug Mills/The New York Times

The office where Obama aides are coordinating strategy on overhauling immigration laws.

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WASHINGTON — The hide-out has no sign on the door, but inside Dirksen 201 is a spare suite of offices the White House has transformed into its covert immigration war room on Capitol Hill.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, en route to the Senate. Mr. Corker has been backing a border security amendment.

Strategically located down the hall from the Senate Judiciary Committee in one of the city’s massive Congressional office buildings, the work space normally reserved for the vice president is now the hub of a stealthy legislative operation run by President Obama’s staff. Their goal is to quietly secure passage of the first immigration overhaul in a quarter century.

“We are trying hard not to be heavy handed about what we are doing,” said Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and the president’s point person on immigration.

Six years ago President George W. Bush publicly sent cabinet secretaries to roam the Capitol building daily to try to woo Republican senators for a similar immigration bill. But this time, high-profile help from the White House is anathema to many Republicans who do not want to be seen by constituents as carrying out the will of Mr. Obama.

So while lawmakers from both parties are privately relying on the White House and its agencies to provide technical information to draft scores of amendments to the immigration bill, few Republicans are willing to admit it. Some are so eager to prove that the White House is not pulling the strings that their aides say the administration is not playing any role at all.

“President Obama’s concept of engaging Congress is giving a speech that nobody up here listens to,” said Alex Conant, a spokesman for Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who is an important supporter of the immigration legislation. “If passing legislation is like making sausage, then this White House is like a bunch of vegetarians.”

As senators near a final tally on the 867-page bill before the July 4 holiday, immigration supporters acknowledge serious risks in Mr. Obama’s approach: leaving the public advocacy for a major piece of his legacy in the hands of others. If the bill fails to become law, Mr. Obama will be open to criticism from Hispanics that he did not put the weight of his office behind the legislation.

But Mr. Obama has made some careful public efforts, including a speech last week at the White House in which he strongly endorsed the legislation. On Tuesday while on Air Force One in Europe, he called a Democratic negotiator, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, to reinforce his opposition to part of a Republican amendment that would have what the administration views as unrealistically tough requirements for border security

Whistleblower: Obama used NSA for politics

WND Exclusive

Tells radio host IRS possibly employed data to harass opponents

 

Published: 6-18-2013

 

William Binney

The IRS may have utilized surveillance data collected by the National Security Agency to harass political opponents of the Obama administration, including the tea party, charged NSA whistleblower William Binney in a radio interview.

After working in the intelligence community for more than 30 years, Binney retired from the NSA in 2001. He co-founded a unit on automating NSA signals intelligence and served as technical leader for NSA intelligence in 2001. Binney is credited with helping to modernize the NSA’s worldwide eavesdropping network.

Asked on Aaron Klein’s WABC radio show Sunday whether he believes data collected on millions of Americans was used by the government against political enemies, Binney replied in the affirmative.

“That’s exactly the danger about letting the government have all this kind of information about its citizens,” the ex-NSA official stated.

“For example, one of the [tea party] people testifying to Congress that was being harassed by the IRS said that the IRS, one of the questions the IRS asked them was what relationship do you have with this other person, and they gave a name. The real question that needs to be asked is how does the IRS know about that relationship?”

Binney was referring to testimony on Capitol Hill earlier this month in which tea party activists said they were confronted with questionnaires about their donors and affiliations.

Continued Binney: “The point is if you take in all this metadata … you can figure out who is in the tea party and who is central to the tea party and then if somebody is applying for a tax-free or tax-exempt status, you can check against your list of the tea party and say you should or should not harass them based on that if they match. So, I mean, that’s the hazard of it.

“The real question is, the IRS needs to answer, is how do you know about that relationship? I mean, that’s the key question because that then will tell you about whether or not the government internally is using that, or someone in the government.”

Binney explained how government officials and outside contractors can access private data on citizens.

“See that’s the real problem. You not only have to trust the government to do the right thing. You got to trust all the people working in the government to do the right thing. And then all the contractors that they hired to manage the system, you have to trust them, too.”

Binney also responded to a claim from US intelligence agencies that they only checked the metadata of under 300 telephone accounts in 2012.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that they have on the order of, you know, 10,000 people looking at three hundred phone calls,” he stated.

Binney became a vocal critic of the NSA after his retirement. He has estimated the NSA has intercepted 20 trillion communications “transactions” of Americans, including emails, phone calls and financial data. He has claimed the NSA is “purposefully violating the Constitution.”

His home was raided in 2007 as part of a leak investigation in which he was eventually cleared. Binney had been accused of serving as a source for a 2005 New York Times article exposing the NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping program. His NSA security clearances reportedly have been revoked.

WND

(It now looks like Snowden is a great patriot and a hero! Editor)

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