President Obama has historically considered the Hill some lower bardo of hell. One of the major complaints of congressional Democrats has always been that the President does not consult them or include them in shaping his legislative agenda, let alone stop by for a chin wag.
So imagine everyone’s surprise when the President suddenly announced he was coming to the Hill today to meet with all the Democrats — right before the August recess begins.
Coincidentally, this forced Alan Grayson to cancel the hearing on NSA activity scheduled for today, at which the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald was to testify. Grayson’s bipartisan hearing was organized to give critics of the NSA’s sweeping surveillance programs a chance to air their concerns, and stem the tide of “constant misleading information” coming from the intelligence community, per Grayson.
Those who saw Glenn Greenwald on ABC’s This Week last Sunday heard him hint at reporting he would publish this week which would directly contradict claims made by General Keith Alexander, James Clapper and President Obama himself about the limited nature of the NSA’s programs (video above).
DSWright has more on XKeyscore, the NSA program Greenwald reports on today. Suffice to say the Guardian publishes copies of training manuals that teach analysts how to search nearly “everything a user does on the internet.” Of all the revelations made by Edward Snowden so far, these are by far the most explosive — and they directly contradict statements by the President that the NSA’s surveillance activities are limited to metadata.
Sadly, Grayson’s hearing has to be pushed into September because of the President’s sudden desire to drop by for a cuppa. Coincidence? Only those in the White House would know for sure.
Regardless, we’ll keep you posted on when the hearing is rescheduled.