It's never been clear what made President Obama such a fervent fan of the HBO series The Wire. Certainly, his administration didn't take the show's criticism of the drug war to heart.
But thanks to the ACLU, which forced the government to reveal the scale of its surveillance activities even though federal agencies are obligated to report their activities voluntarily, we finally have our answer: Obama is just a big fan of wiretaps.
As seen in the above chart displaying the number of people subject to pen register and trap and trace surveillance, more people have been affected by techniques that allow the government to capture incoming and outgoing phone numbers and email addresses in the past two years than in the entire previous decade.
With the bar set this slow, surely, Mitt Romney at least promises to be a better civil libertarian than the current president…
Even as he embraced a hawkish approach to other counterterrorism issues — like drone strikes, military commissions, indefinite detention and the Patriot Act – Mr. Obama has stuck to that strict no-torture policy.
By contrast, Mr. Romney's advisers have privately urged him to "rescind and replace President Obama’s executive order" and permit secret "enhanced interrogation techniques against high-value detainees that are safe, legal and effective in generating intelligence to save American lives," according to an internal Romney campaign memorandum.
No such luck. But good news for anyone caught by the surveillance dragnet created by the Obama administration who is subsequently waterboarded by a Romney administration: only the finest mineral water is going to be forced down their lungs.
Tags: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Mitt Romney, Torture