The recent revelations regarding the NSA’s data mining program and PRISM program have created a stir which crosses ideological lines. When Van Jones and Rush Limbaugh agree on something, clearly ideology has little to do with the subject matter. Our good friend Bill O’ Reilly has recently come out against some of the NSA’s secretive practices. On his show Monday night, O’ Reilly tried to clarify exactly what is going on; one thing he forgot to do was thoroughly recant his position regarding these surveillance issues during the Bush Administration.
O’ Reilly started off by questionably endorsing Edward Snowden’s actions regarding the leak before declaring that he should be arrested, “even though his leaks can ultimately be a good thing.” His reasoning was because we can’t have a state of anarchy and Americans “just revealing secret documents.”
O’ Reilly also expressed support for the metadata mining program, which is consistent with his earlier held position on the issue:
“Metadata collection is probably acceptable, but looking into emails is unconstitutional.” [Video transcript]
Now, the latter part of this statement is where things begin to get a little flippy-floppy for the conservative anchor. In 2006, O’ Reilly went on record supporting the warrantless wiretapping program, which amassed tens of millions U.S households domestic calls and the metadata mining program. The former is similar to the PRISM program in that it involves content of conversations.
In 2006, when Judge Anne Digg Taylor ruled warrantless wiretapping unconstitutional, O’ Reilly asserted that she was:
“…an activist, far left jurist… would oppose every anti-terror measure the Bush administration has put in just because they are the Bush administration… wants Americans to die and wants dead people in the street here in America.”
So now the question must be asked: does Bill O’ Reilly want the terrorists to win?
These two programs are similar in the fact that they are extremely intrusive to American’s privacy. So, O’ Reilly has now developed a disdain for intruding on Americans privacy?
His current position on the issue is a bit convoluted. In his segment (below), he bashes Obama for wanting an intrusive federal government, while simultaneously being in favor of the PATRIOT Act, which is the foundation for all these government intrusions in the first place. This is not to judge his previous position regarding domestic surveillance during the Bush Administration, but clearly it is difficult to gauge where Bill stands on all these issues. But, then again, one thing we know about Mr. O’Reilly is that his inconsistency never ceases to amaze.
Here’s the video: