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Alison Lee, Discussion Question

How Much Do We Not Know?

And lastly, Alison’s post:

Reported by various news outlets, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying and collecting information on German Chancellor Angela Merkel through her very own cell phone since 2002, rendering over a decade of breached trust. As we are unsure of the exact reasons why the U.S. government would tap into the privacy of our fellow, German allies, many details—such as the nature of the monitoring—remain hazy. But, amidst this confusion lies a larger, even more disconcerting controversy. With President Obama contradicting himself, first addressing that he was informed of this proceeding back in 2010 to later state that he had no knowledge of it whatsoever, we, as U.S. citizens, cannot help but to be deeply concerned with how he is running our government.

1. You know things are bad when you have to question what’s better—an aloof President who supposedly didn’t partake in a scandal or an informed one who allowed for it.

But that’s what this situation comes down to. While the invasion of privacy crosses the line of trust, and is definitely a disconcerting act itself, perhaps what’s even more unsettling is the possibility that President Obama was unaware of these shenanigans altogether.

2. We are hurting our image, destroying critical relations with our allies, and losing trust and credibility altogether.

Personally, I think it’s downright scary to consider that our own President is unaware of such affairs involving this much controversy on an international scale. To have Obama admit that he was aware of the ongoings of his own administration would give back some sort of reassurance to the public, and credibility to the White House.

3. This isn’t the first time Obama implemented the “I didn’t know” excuse.

Whether he was aware or unaware both lead to us to uncomfortable places, but to have Obama “not know” of such misstep would reveal something much more substantial than a breach of trust. With the IRS scandal, the Health Care website, and now the surveillance controversy, Obama seems to be left “unaware” three times too many about his administration and their proceedings. This miscommunication that we’ve seen within the White House only sheds an unflattering light on how President Obama is running his administration—that is, if he is running it at all.

4. We are not given the truth and may very well never get it. 

As we have no further evidence to analyze the situation, we are left with an abundance of unsettled questions.  How is Obama administrating the government? What kind of system is he allowing for behind the scenes? How effectively is he maintaining communication within the White House? How are his interactions with intelligence officials? How informed is he of the things that are affecting the country is presiding over? How much does he know? How much do we not know?

As of now, we don’t know the answers, and unfortunately, may never even get them. But, in the mean time, there will be plenty of finger pointing on who is to blame. As President, it’s only right for Obama to take his share of responsibility. It is his job, after all, to supervise and authorize the proceedings of our government. Knowing things is a crucial part of the job. And truthfully, there simply is not enough patience or tolerance in this world for more excuses.  Either do a better job at not getting caught, or don’t do it at all.  Because people will point fingers, and eventually, maybe even something else.

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