EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

October 27, 2013

Column: We can tap calls worldwide, but we can't make the Obamacare website work

It’s not a good thing when the president has to reassure a close ally the U.S. is not listening in on her cellphone calls and has no plans to do so.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “The president assured (German chancellor Angela Merkel) that the United States is not monitoring, and will not monitor, the communications of the chancellor.” Note the verb tense, suggesting that, yes, the U.S. did listen in on past calls.

Ditto for a number of other leaders now furious with us.

Isn’t it amazing that we have the technology to bypass security to tap the cellphones of leaders around the world and can’t set up a website in 2013 that provides simple information to our citizens about their health insurance options to carry out a law passed in 2010?

Especially when the amount of e-commerce sales is expected to surpass $240 billion this year. In other words, millions of people have figured this Internet thing out pretty well while clueless government contractors botched Internet 101.

But I digress. This expression of outrage is at clueless intelligence agencies which concluded U.S. domestic and foreign spying on calls and emails would never come to light. Do these people never see movies or read thrillers? Hey, guys, this is a democracy!

Yes, Edward Snowden, a contract employee who worked for the National Security Agency and is the source of the leaks of classified information on spying, is a traitor who should be returned from Russia and tried in U.S. courts.

But if he thought the nitty-gritty details of his leaks wouldn’t be revealed when he gave them to a journalist, he was mistaken. That journalist is Glenn Greenwald, who describes himself in Wikipedia as an American “journalist, political commentator, lawyer, columnist, blogger and author.”

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