The White House has praised Congress for its spirit of bipartisanship and support for the administration in the wake of revelations about a massive surveillance program.
President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney today told reporters that the leaks have brought Democrats and Republicans together as allies in defending the National Security Agency (NSA) having access to the phone and Internet records of tens of millions of Americans.
“As little as one month ago it would have been unthinkable for both liberals and conservatives to defend Obama on the same issue,” Carney said. “But now they are working together in the spirit of bipartisanship.
“Both parties understand how important it is that we have more power to conduct surveillance on Americans. For that, the president is deeply grateful.”
The NSA is under scrutiny after The Guardian and Washington Post revealed it was tapping or collecting into phone and Internet data on an ongoing basis.
However, the leak has created strange bedfellows among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, which has long been gridlocked by intense partisanship throughout Obama’s presidency.
Security hawks like Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have defended the NSA programs as necessary for national safety and counterterrorism efforts.
Carney also had a positive spin on dissident liberals and libertarians in Congress such as Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., who have attacked the programs for being intrusive and not having enough oversight.
“The fact that Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, two senators with vastly differing political philosophies, can work together is evidence that America’s two-party political system still works,” Carney said. “It may have taken real and perceived threats on individual liberty to do it, but the system still works.”
Carney also had praise for the editorial boards and columnists at media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Politico who have rushed in to defend the NSA programs and to demonize Edward Snowden, the source of the leaked information on the programs.
“The Obama administration deeply appreciates the widespread support that the mainstream media has shown for us in this very difficult time,” he told reporters. “I wish your pasty-faced colleagues at The Guardian had the same level of respect and deference for the United States government.”