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Greenwald: Obama’s Proposed NSA Reforms Are Cosmetic, ‘Basically a PR Gesture’

Journalist Glenn Greenwald is not impressed by the NSA reforms being proposed by President Obama. During an appearance on Al Jazeera America Thursday night, Greenwald previewed the speech Obama gave today announcing a few changes to NSA surveillance programs, and said that nothing meaningful is being proposed, it’s just all one giant public relations stunt to make it look like they really care about intelligence reform.

Greenwald said that even though Obama’s met with an executive privacy board and made public comment after public comment about how he understands the need to reign in surveillance in some quarters, it was never really his intention to do any of that.

“The mission that he set when he created this review panel, when he started this process, was not to reform the NSA in any meaningful way, it was to restore public confidence, meaning to prettify the process to make it seem more palatable. It’s really just basically a PR gesture, a way to calm the public and make them think there’s reform when in reality there really won’t be.”

He said there needs to be a debate about whether we need to “dismantle this machinery” constructed after 9/11 or if we want a “much more sensible surveillance system” that bolsters privacy safeguards. Either way, Greenwald didn’t think a “pretty speech” by Obama was going to fix anything.

Watch the video below, via Al Jazeera America:

[photo via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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