Jeb Bush: NSA Mass Surveillance is ‘Best Part of Obama Presidency’
Possible Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush praised President Barack Obama for enhancing the National Security Agency by continuing its worldwide program of mass surveillance and bulk data collection.
Visiting Seattle on Monday for a fundraiser for his political action committee Right to Rise, the former Florida governor took time out for an interview with Michael Medved, conservative radio host of the nationally syndicated “The Michael Medved Show.”
Medved asked Bush, “If you were to look back at the last seven years, almost, what has been the best part of the Obama administration?”
“I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” Bush replied. “Advancing this, even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation, I think of our national government is to keep us safe.”
Bush continued: “And the technologies that now can be applied to make that so, while protecting civil liberties are there. And he’s not abandoned them, even though there was some indication that he might.”
In 2013, former NSA analyst turned whistleblower Edward Snowden began leaking revelations detailing US government surveillance on a truly global scale. Metadata from billions of phone and electronic communications were collected, with targets of NSA spying including heads of state—even close US allies, corporations, social media and gaming sites, and countless individuals, including American citizens.
Although often painted by conservative politicians and pundits as one of the most, if not the most, liberal president in US history, Obama’s often hawkish policies and actions have won him praise from Republicans in the past. Earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he prefers Obama’s foreign policy over that of fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s. Sen. John McCain, who Obama defeated in the 2008 presidential race, praised Obama’s willingness to wage war Libya in 2011.
Paul responded by calling Graham and McCain “lapdogs” for Obama’s interventionist foreign policy.