The President says, "My concern has always been not that we shouldn't do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism [author's note: why not?] but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?" Obama argues that something called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court provides enough oversight of the National Security Agency's work.
The trouble is, of course, that we have to take his word for it.
All American governments, I suppose, do surveillance. Much of it, if revealed, would probably seem to us ordinary citizens like invasion of privacy. Some of it, in fact, probably is. But what can we do about it? It was easier to put up with government spying when the Soviet Uinion existed and a nuclear war beween them and us could quite possibly have destroyed the planet. North Korea seems to dislike us, but they're not on the same scale as the Soviets were.
But the reality is simple: we can't make Obama stop. We can raise the issue at the next election, but we must also ask questions: Do we need spying which invades privacy? Would our country be safe without it?