We have a rule here at Common Sense Decisions that goes something like this…first reports are often wrong so never believe what you read or hear without first checking out the facts.
As the noise over the government tapping into our conversations continues to grow we are learning more and more about what our government is actually doing. Or is it?
It was first reported that the government was listening in to the phone calls of all the Verizon and AT&T customers. Wrong! The government IS gathering the Verizon and AT&T phone records to ferret out links to phone numbers of known terrorist cells. If you know Fred is a bad guy and Fred is talking to Bill…then who is Bill talking to. They are NOT listening in to our conversations.
It was first reported that the government through the PRISM program was reading all our emails, blogs and tweets and listening in to ourchats and Skype conversations. Wrong! The government IS reading the emails, blogs and tweets and listening in to the Skype and chat room conversations of persons overseas that they believe are engaging in activities that threaten national security. Before engaging in these activities they are obtaining warrants from the FISA court.
It was first reported that the Obama administration has greatly expanded the Bush administrations' eavesdropping activities. Wrong! The seizure of phone records and the PRISM program were all expanded under George W. Bush. The Obama administration continued the programs as is. The only Obama expansion was in “reading in” several more members of congress in order to provide more transparency.
How do we know this new information is 100% correct? We don’t. We only know that multiple non-partisan sources now coming out with these clarifying statements.
We do not offer this new information to persuade anyone as to the constitutional appropriateness of these government activities. Our only point is that the facts are not always what they seem and judgment should be withheld until the facts are known.
Whenever reporters write an expose’ they always say: “the people have a right to know the truth.”
If that is the goal then the every reporter has an obligation to get it right.