Paul Jacob

You don’t trust President Barack Obama?

No faith in the massive federal bureaucracy? Don’t hold a huge reservoir of confidence in Congress representing your interests? How much do you trust the federal courts that handle secret requests from the Department of Justice . . .and then issue secret decisions based on the judge’s secret interpretation of the law?

Be advised: President Obama finds “your lack of faith disturbing.”

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch, but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process, and rule of law,” Mr. Obama told reporters, “then we’re going to have some problems here.”

Let’s put partisanship aside and agree with his conclusion. Indeed, there are problems galore; the morning paper reads like a dystopian novel.

Uncle Sam — or Big Brother (it is increasingly difficult to tell them apart) — is snatching a record of every phone call you make, including to whom you are calling, from where you call, and how long you talk. And, but for a leak of classified information, we wouldn’t be worrying our pretty little heads about it.

Still, “no one is listening to your telephone calls” the POTUS reassures, as if the Feds knowing every phone call you make, when, where and to whom, isn’t a serious enough violation of your privacy. Of course, if the FBI or NSA or CIA are listening to the content of calls, it’s surely classified and you won’t be told.

But trust him.

Or trust that good ol’ Congress! “I think at the outset,” explained the president, “it’s important to understand that your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we’re doing.”

Considering congressional approval ratings, that point strikes me as less than assuring.

It’s nonsensical, too. The few members of the House and Senate intelligence committees who receive classified briefings (the entire Congress is not informed) are sworn to secrecy. Even if they disagree with what’s happening, their hands are tied. They can’t do very much about it.

Moreover, the few congressmen informed only know what they are told. That’s hardly oversight.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.