tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC December 19, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PST
46 specific changes to the way the u.s. collects data on its citizens. press secretary jay carney said president obama will review the recommendations and address them in a major speech come january. >> we need to make sure we're not gathering intelligence solely because we can but because we must, because we need it in order to achieve the objective of protecting the united states, allies. >> the report, giving it to phone companies, third party with government access to the phone data should only be granted with a specific court order. the court also called for reforms to the fisa court, an advocate to argue against the u.s. government. it recommended creating an approval process including signoff for spying on foreign leaders. and it suggested a civilian
director for the nsa rather than military personnel. that last recommendation has already been rejected by the white house. while it is unclear just how many suggestion they will act on, they cheered the panel's finding including chair of the judiciary committee senator pat leahy. >> the message is very clear. the message to the nsa is now coming from every branch of government, from every corner of our nation. nsa, you've gone too far. >> on the other side of the aisle, senator rand paul asserted the panel's findings made it clear director of national intelligence james clapper who famously told congress the nsa did not wittingly collect phone records should resign. >> clapper more injuryious to our intelligence capabilities than anything snowden did because clapper damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus.
i'm not sure what to believe anymore when they come to congress. i think in order to restore confidence in our intelligence community, i think james clapper should resign. >> the report echoed federal judge richard leon's ruling earlier this week which determined nsa surveillance dragnet made only a, quote, modest contribution to the nation's security. as the authors of the task force report concluded, free nations must protect themselves. nations that protect themselves must remain free. joining me former clinton white house secretary and managing director of the park group deedee myers, josh green senior national correspondent for bloomberg business week, which this week looks at the few things, only 8.5 of them that went right. anchor of world news america katie kay and gene robinson. >> talked about electronic stop
and terrif and frisk. we're at a crossroads. big questions before us, what kind of democracy we want to have. the electronic frontier is very much that, a frontier. i wonder how much you think we have enough robust internal debate and dialogue over these issues. >> we're having more than we have. you talk about a crossroads. the nsa went straight through that crossroads, ignored the stop sign and went straight through it. so now we're trying to roll it back. it's somewhat disingenuous, i think, for the president and the intelligence officials and heads of committee say of course we should have robust debate about security versus privacy, when, in fact, they didn't want us to have a debate, know this stuff. if it hadn't been for snowden we wouldn't know it. i think this is significant. this report is much tougher and more comprehensive, more
detailed and more grounded than i had expected it to be frankly. recommendations are pretty tough. >> dee dee, from the white house perspective, it is a very, very tricky needle to thread. i don't know if needles can be asteri as tricky as this. the president is commander in chief and has to make very tough calls as far as national security. how would you grade the white house's response here? from the beginning of the snowden leaks until now where president obama is going to be effectively taking this report on vacation with him and deciding what to do. >> scrambling. edward snowden shocked the world. scrambling to not only keep up with the cascade of information, they have no idea what he has and what's coming next. i think politics are changing fast. used to be doing it to keep you
safe. people are pretty much willing to accept that. so big and so complicated, so close to home, you see the president's numbers with young people declining. a big part is the sense too much -- the government is getting too much into their i was. the president has to balance national security interests going into the elections. very tough. >> i want, katty, how it simplifies things, a set of recommendations they have to systematically adopt or reject. they said we're not appointing a civilian to head the nsa. we're going to keep that. then the fisa court, adversarial process seems like right and fair if we're going to have it a court. having a judiciary, a court process, would presume that you have two different sides of the
argument. >> right. what the intelligence community counters with, the trouble with that, it can take a long time, two weeks to sort out that process by which time the intelligence you've gathered may no longer be action able. we don't know how much of this is going to be adopted. they have to go back to the intelligence community and say what's the operational cost of what we're proposing here. the president will listen to some of that and make his decisions. if you are on the side of civil liberties, you are concerned this doesn't go far enough. if you're inside intelligence you're worried it might go too far and undermine america's intelligence gathering capacity. so the president is going to spend the next several weeks weighing those two things before the speech in january. even the intelligence community recognizes they have to do something now. because otherwise they may be prevented from doing anything. >> i wanted to ask you this question specifically, josh. the collection of metadata the continue whether or not it is housed in government warehouses
or in nevada or utah or wherever it is. we have news this week of target, 40 million, i think, user -- 40 million debit and -- pieces of debit and credit card information potentially compromised. are we safer or do we feel more comfortable if private companies, phone companies keep this information rather than the u.s. government. >> certainly an interesting question. before the snowden revelation people were very upset credit card companies and a lot of these big retailers were holding onto this credit card data and fairly routinely breached by hackers. now we're in a situation where, wait, are those the good guys or bad guys. one thing that's interesting about the report, a, not clear collecting this metadata was constitutional. they said specifically the bulk collection of america's phone records was not essential to thwarting the attacks on terror. one of the big questions for obama and the white house, what
rational, what basis do you have in even doing this in the first place, before wets to the question about who gets to keep the goodies. >> he's going to have to address that head on in january if he makes a major speech. this is why we're doing this. >> the only rational, it helps to keep us safe. if that rational is undermined, have you to look at ways to change those practices, curb them. this isn't like the house republicans coming up with 46 recommendations, seriously overstepped, handpicked people from the white house. >> it's an outside group but not that far outside. >> the beaurocracies are. >> when members were announced, everybody said these people are close to the administration, this is just a rubber stamp. it turned out not to be. they turned out to be very tough. >> we're going to have a strong debate, too, about what success constitutes, right? we already had that from judge leon's ruling where he said the
government hadn't provided any information, collection of data prevented an imminent attack. intelligence community said that may be the case. is imminent attack barometer for measuring this. we couldn't have the debate because the secret measuring in trusses of privacy -- >> the notion of imminent threat is something we've been dealing with since 9/11. we still haven't figured it out. in terms of foreign policy, national security strategy. it is almost an unanswerable question here. >> but the review group, which got to look at as much information as it got to look at. i'm sure they didn't get to see the most secret nsa secrets. was it essential or not? it said it wasn't essential. it said the information nsa
talks about obtained through the program was or could have been obtained through other means easily in a timely fashion. they ticked every box, could have done it quickly, otherwise, without violating everybody's privacy. that's a tough case to answer. >> well, it puts the white house very much, i think, on defense. there is this looming question. frank rich writes about this in new york magazine, is a large enough segment of the american public angry enough to demand leaders start safeguarding its privacy, or nothing yielding secrets daily to media and shopping portals so deeply cocooned by orwellian culture, drugged by consumer narcissism to protest. what do you really think? there's some legitimacy there in terms of how much we're already sharing. >> the reaction, dee dee
mentioned the fact young people millennials are abandoning obama in part because of this intrusion. they recognize on some level maybe it's because they were too young during 9/11 but this idea that you can use national security as kind of a magic word orbita talisman. i do think that's a problem obama will have to do with. >> you don't think cocooned with orwellian. >> a problem with facebook does with your data you don't have to do facebook. >> there's a sense too much data by private enterprises and government and people are starting to get nervous. >> it is astonishing how much 19 years old will put on facebook, still, even though -- as a
19-year-old. i was surprised at obama's approval ratings among people in their 20s fell 14 points in the weeks after the nsa revelations. it was astonishing. that's a real flight. >> the president gave an interview with "people" magazine and addressed edward snowden leaks which set this in motion and said he was frustrated by them. he has spoken previously i don't like how they came out in dribs and drabs. that seemed like the most intellectually dishonest part of this argument. i think the president was fundamentally distressed about the leaks. whether or not they came out in one gigantic release or dribs and drabs. >> but dribs and drabs means it's an ongoing distraction. you talk to people inside the white house and nsc are consumed by this, can't get out electric under it. because every day or week there's a new revelation where they have to respond and have to deal with it and they are trying to manage the politics around
the world in addition to guarding security. i think dribs and drabs things is politically really, really tough. it just means it nevers goes away, can't get it behind you. >> i think he's going to have to put forward, eugene, a more articulate argument about how he's going to deal with this. what he truly thinks of these disclosures, you know, and what the corrective steps are. >> he is on the record for years going back to his illinois years, through his senator years as being an advocate of civil liberties, you know, and that's, you know, why some people voted for him, because of that. >> that thing. >> that whole thing. so he's going to have to square that and explain why any of this, or a lot of it, fits into his conception of civil liberties and what his voters and his supporters and the people who expected something different from him. >> i will say, katty, i think
one thing in the president's favor is he does nuance better than perhaps any other leader we've had. i think he's almost at his best when he's being nuanced. i think people disagree. the first time addressed the drone program and didn't offer a definitive answer but said these are moral questions, and i have erred here. i thought that was a great moment on a thorny issue. >> he's intellectual enough and not knee jerk, when pushed into a situation where he has to give his opinion -- you think about his race speech, probably one of the best speeches he ever gave. something complicated, nuanced and difficult in this country, he addressed it very well. you're right about the drone. he may come out with the nsa.
i think -- and give something. i don't know if it's going to satisfy young people. your point about the fact post 9/11, these are people who didn't grow up with the shadow of that are thinking we feel safe anyway. unless he can really say that the security has benefited, i think it's going to be a hard one. >> the number of people who trust him has fallen substantially. i think that becomes a much harder case to make when you do not have as willing an audience as perhaps you had during the race speech. >> i think it's easier to accept, gee, reluctantly i have to blast people to smithereens and pakistan and have to walk away, reluctantly i have to violate your privacy. >> we are less for giving with ourselves than with others. i think i said that right. after the break, the white house is adopting a new second term strategy, get podesta. we will discuss president obama's new hire and the o-genda
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bill clinton's white house is being brought in to fill the leadership vacuum brought on by the departure of two davids, axelrod and plouffe. podesta turned down president obama's overtures twice. but the deal sealer for podesta was obama's assurance he would be given broad oversight of the administration's climate change agenda. the hiring of podesta who managed president obama's transition team signals
jump-starting the second term with executive actions. it's the president's best shot of governing, making an impact, given the increasingly dim chance of a congress in the coming years. i will say full disclosure, i've known john podesta for a very long time. he's a family friend of ours us. fascinating mover and shaker, powerful in washington but remains behind the scenes in terms of exerting his power in the way many other things in washington are more extroverted. analyzing what podesta's role will be, wants him to maximize use of executive authority to respond to the scale of the climate change challenge. whether podesta can get president obama to do this is a separate question but the fact podesta sees that as the goal itself is important. how influential -- you've worked with john. you know him. how influential do you think he can be in terms of moving president obama measurably on
something like climate change, which is really nowhere as far as movement politically. >> i don't think has he to move him at all idea logically, they are in sync when it comes to objectives, challenges and urgency of the issue. politics is more complicated. i think the question is broader. how much does president obama want to change. how much is he going to let a new group of advisers and new set of voices in and how much is he going to let that affect his decision making and agenda. so far very little willingness to move out of his comfort zone. i'm a huge podesta fan, like you've known him a long time, he's a guy who gets things done. he's a great manager, great strategist. he drives really hard. i think the white house is going to be in for some like there is a new sheriff in town and he will look for executive action, things you can do without congress. there's things have you to do legislatively he'll have to push for as well. remains to be seen, will the
president buy into things only the president can do. you can bring the horse to water. >> i think wet that right. in terms of the staffing, there's been a lot of analysis. the president had a rough last six months between aca, syria and snowden leaks, they have not had their arms around crafting the message of the day, it's been very reactionary. some of that, most of that, due to news cycle and leaks. but there have been those that questioned whether the right team. dennis mcdonagh taken a role in terms of congress. does this shake-up result in a meaningful change you'll see from the outside? >> i think it will. the problems over the last year you have examples like syria where you have seemingly iimpromptu decisions made on the fly. there isn't that process. you wouldn't think it would
happen with a rahm emanuel or john podesta in charge. things can change through executive action that are big and are important that i imagine obama wants to do or he wouldn't have appointed podesta. the main one being the supreme court has given constitutional authority to the administration, to the eba to regulate carbon he missions. that's a big, big deal. obama hasn't pulled the trigger on that. i certainly take this as a sign they intend on doing it in the next three years. >> i think, katty, what we saw and harry reid consulted with the white house on this but sounds like he made the decision himself to go nuclear, there's a powerful sense of frustration from democrats, from the white house they can't get anything done no matter how reasonable because the republicans, gop has become so intransigent. when it comes to executive orders and executive actions, they are like, hey, why not. you're not going to get anything done with the guys on the other side. >> whatever you think of the
jonestown comments which podesta has come out and apologized for straightaway, which was probably a sign of a guy who gets out ahead of things anyway, it is an indication of where his mind is. this is the way the republican party has worked. if we're going to get anything done in what is left of the second term which hasn't started great, we're going to have to do it ourselves, not by republicans but by executive order. another thing interested, clinton, is there a stage in second terms where you've lost people with longevity to you, gibbs, who could go in and say, plp, that's a bad idea. syria. >> aca rollout, you have to fix this, make sure we're not launching something that doesn't work. maybe podesta is the person going in. he's only going for a year, doesn't have much at stake, not a career person in the white house. he can say, no.
dee dee would know better than me. >> accept bad news. it will raise the question of how good president obama is at accepting that news and acting on it. i actually think josh raised the issue, though, if we're going to talk about climate change and that's what podesta want to do something on, what will the president allow the epa to do basically and will he go ahead and regulate carbon as a really important legacy item, something he can really leave behind, and according to everything he said before feel proud of, at potentially political cost. not for him. be squawking and jumping up and down and tearing their hair out. senator joe manchin is not going to be with the president. >> i feel like we are seeing a president obama who is, if not
more embracing, more responsive to the progressive base with the asce ascend ants of bill de blasio, something he can effect with federal workers with the swipe of a pen. we're talking about climate change on this show, we haven't. the president can institute new carbon plants on coal, leafy fees on oil, expand federally protected land. there is a host of stuff he can do that would craft meaningful change and really set the stage for a long lasting, i think, if not agenda then set of goals in terms of the environment and changing where we are at, dee dee. i don't see why he wouldn't do that at this point. >> politics. we have elections coming up next year. a lot of democrats -- we tried btu tack in the clinton administration and it was a
catastrophe, right. we were going to tax carbon. there is a big political downside to doing this and certainly before the midterms and doing it as 2016 approaches where the democratic nominee is. how do you balance the politics with the legacy and move forward. i think the other thing the president cares a lot about progressive, is income inequality. those are bread and butter. they are great politics, need to be done. growing inequality is not only a moral but economic issue, a drag on the economy. i think the president can make an argument, do things. middle class feels abandoned by this president. good for democrats at the midterm, good for democratic politics, the economy recovers, as it appears to be doing, that's the best think that can happen. >> it is worth noting a lot of talk about john's record and interest in climate change but he actually created a think tank devoted to studying income
equality. this is a marquis issue and the president seems renewed in his push for minimum wanl. the mack, mostly clear nasty, maverick, all names for josh green and john mccain, a man of many monikers. according to mark leibovich he could go by another moniker, cliche. we will talk about the upper chamber's super senator when he joins us, that's mark leibovich not john mccain just ahead. [ male announcer ] this is george. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ [ camera shutter clicks ] now, that's cardworthy. [ man ] all right. here we go. ♪ cardworthy. [ camera shutter clicks ]
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every single day. now tell me, what's in your wallet? five-term john mccain has endured two failed presidential bid, cancer, five years of torture as a prisoner of the north vietnamese. the profile this week, he'll probably survive that, too. in the piece how john mccain turned his cliches interest meaning, mark leibovich follows him to town halls of arizona and around the chambers of congress where mccain jokes about kicking the crap out of harry reid, weighs in on wacko bird caucus, powwows with buddies including senate tanto lindsey graham and former senator jo joe lieberman and anything else in perpetual
motion, always forward, never looking back, at least most of the time. john mccain is a cliche, he writes, no one has been prerp traitor of more myth making than john mccain. war hero bent on tran skending the call of self-interest to serve a cause greater than himself, sore loser, old bull, last lion, loose cannon, happy warrior, elder statesman, lion in winter, you lose track of which mccain cliche is operational at a given moment. at this particular moment mccain is playing several roles, fighting for the soul of the republican party, jetting off to the ukraine in syria, very much considering running for a sixth senate term in 2016 and apparently now leading yet another legislative battle, health care. yesterday in a surprise move during mccain's preferred crowded hour, a moment of character testing, the senator took to the floor to introduce his very own repeal and replace
obama care. >> i don't think there's any doubt in the majority of americans minds that obama care is a failure and the american people do not believe in it. it is as some of us fought it day after day on the floor, an experiment in social engineering, a redistribution of the wealth. it is a failure. so we on the other side of this issue are also required to come up with alternatives because we vowed to repeal and replace obama care not just repeal it. we need to repeal this horrendous mistake. we need to repeal the affordable care act, and we need to replace it. >> joining me now is chief national correspondent for "the new york times" magazine, mark leibovich who wrote this weekend's cover story on the post mccain and also the host of
this town, a great holiday read. you just sold some books. lets talk about the latest, i get the ukraine, syria stuff, i get the immigration stuff. what is john mccain doing going into a repeal and replace obama care. >> it is puzzling. i mean, what's puzzling about it, like so much of mccain, it came out of nowhere as if it was scribbled on a napkin at lunch. really, there was no warning or anything. again, this is someone who i guess you can see him getting board, sitting on my couch. what am i going to do now, what news am i going to make this afternoon. i'm not going to say it wasn't thought about but emblem act of the sensibility of everything he does. >> i want to explore cliche, that is sort of an organizing -- it is repeated in the piece. i think initially one thinks of that as a negative designation. you quote david foster wallace saying mccain, david foster
wallace described mccain as someone who acts in the ballpark of the way a real human being would act. cliche exists for a reason. in your piece, a very humanizing piece for a politician is genuinely who he is. >> right. in a sense the story is damming, if not more damming of the media, mythologist that grow up around washington than anything john mccain has perpetrated. every politician is a mythmaker to some degree. look, what i wanted to bring to life here is this is a human being who has lived an extraordinary life, yet another extraordinary moment of his career, possibly the end. look, washington is cliche central. okay. again, the media is front and center of this. >> said tough talking mark leibovich. >> it's frustrating to everyone. it's sort of a disservice to the
culture in that you lose the human element, deeper perversity, extraordinary life that gets lost in this big haze of myth. >> i think our inability to comprehend the various lives that mccain has lived and sort of square those together. he has had an extraordinarily huge life. we were talking about this before the show. talk about his restless energy, aca stuff is exemplary of that. he's aware of the ticking hand of time and talks in the piece about, you know, retirement being equivalent to death if not a death sentence. >> he is wide awake. i love wide awake. this is an extremely half asleep process we all enter into, especially when we talk about politics, politics performed pro forma on many, many levels. this is someone who is terrified. he's terrified of going away. he's terrified of whatever can
be next and death, that's really existential and what comes after being in the arena is a very, very real question everyone faces at some point. >> i sort of applaud him for not trying to bury that fear under, you know, tissue and pomp and circumstance and quote, unquote, bravery, especially given the falsity with which so many others -- i'm talking about ted cruz in particular. he's so character -- in terms of character, they could not be more different yet from the same party. >> also in a sense me asking him about ted cruz and sarah palin was itself a cliche. i have to own the cliche of the kinds of role i was playing in reporting, the questions i was asking and the kind of environment we were having together as a person in the media and a person profiled by the person in the media. i think john mccain, what i like about him most, how open he is about his flaws. not whether he'll admit them or
not but he's an extremely flawed individual. he doesn't fit in boxes. he defies a lot of the boxes he tries to put himself into, his people try to put him in, he puts himself in, that was on display in 2008. sarah palin is helping put people like ted cruz in the senate, that's his ep tat. >> she's author of -- when you see his relationship with lieberman and graham and the old guard and then literally on the right flank is someone like ted cruz, marco rubio. was there a palpable sense of doom in and around this older group of senate republicans. >> i think there's wistfulness. you'll never hear mccain publicly distance himself from that decision or sarah palin. you might if she primaries or gets behind primary against
lindsey graham in south carolina. that will be interesting to watch. that's one things he can't get away. owned finance, the scandal, the opportunism of the confederate flag issue in 2007. he doesn't have anything to gain or maybe defiance with the media. "new york times" had some, too, i was lucky enough to have a pre-existing condition and able to talk to him. he's a man of many battles and many scars. >> i will say this, mark. we talked, you were on the show when this came out. a lot of people reacted to the anecdotes and not the broader message. i would like to out you as someone who i believe fundamentally is an optimist and wants our democracy to be more functioning and is hopeful in
your own mark leibovichian way about the change that we can craft and the institution of congress is a mighty institution. that is, i think, also reflected in the john mccain piece. i was telling you before. i walked away from it feeling both sort of wistful and sad but kind of really moved by it. >> that's good. i like -- it's good. humanity is good. i do think -- first of all, i should rip my earpiece off and storm off the set. don't out me on anything else. it is important to know cynicism -- i am a cynic. any reporter becomes cynical. maybe i'm more susceptible but it's where i am. it comes from a place of very
deep passion, belief, optimism my kids can grow up in a better world and we can all grow up in a better world. maybe now i should rip my earpiece off before i completely run the brand. cliches everywhere. >> "new york times" mark leibovich. thank you. "this town" is on sale in paper back? >> not yet. >> buy it in hard back. thank you, mark. >> thanks. coming up, now that republican has conceded in tightly contested attorney general race, the old dominion is blue. we will discuss virginia's democratic transformation and other state recoloring the map. that's just ahead.
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the state of virginia is officially blue now that republican state senator mark obenshain conceded to democrat mark herring, democrats have colored the old dominion a distinct shade of cobalt for the first time in 40 years, that is since the year 1969. eugene, fluke or trend? >> both. >> very political. >> virginia going from a red state to a much bluer state. still pretty delicately poised
between the two. statewide offices can go back and forth. i don't think this is a fully cemented trend. in fact, legislatures are pretty mixed but more republican in terms of actual control at this point. >> i think also, josh, that we are not gifted a ken cuccinelli every election season. you use that either euphemistically or grand understatement or overstatement. with cuccinelli, it's porous. >> a candidate that embodies raging social conservatism with added taint of scandal from governor bob o'donnell who locks as though he might be indicted. not a recipe for victory if you have an r next to your name. >> it is, dee dee, the electoral sort of numbers if we are talking about states that once were red and sort of historic
trends, colorado from 2000 two 2012, the state's latino population grew 40%. in nevada the minority population grew. this is a changing america. >> no question. the demographic trends are clear and they are not reversible, right? that is going to come at the same time you can bet colorado and virginia will be top targets of both parties in 2016 presidential race. nets side is willing to say this is in our camp or not in our camp. these states will be up for grabs for a while. >> speaking of gifts and thins that are up for grabs, i need to move on before we end the holiday season. americans may no longer have faith in the government or the media but one thing americans want to believe in it's old st. nick. according to annual ppp holiday poll, 43% of americans believe in santa claus, 51% of americans
would prefer the greeting merry christmas over happy holidays and 41% think there is a war on christmas. katty is our resident scholar, outsider to this crazy culture we call america. 41% of the country believe in santa claus. >> i would love to see the age demographic. i'm hoping it's under seven. that is staggering. whatever race they happen to believe he is or whatever color he might be or not be. >> dee dee, open the door to that. >> he could be transgender. >> there you have the war right there. >> if you believe in st. nicholas, who was born in the third century in what is today turkey, the chances -- i'll have to ask people in turkey but chances he's blue eyed and blond hair are --
>> eugene, only 2% of african-americans believe he's white. not a lot believe white people were shooting down the chimney with gifts to bear. >> not in my house. that's the general experience. >> i will end it on this, josh. 33% of democrats believe santa is -- no, is santa democrat or republican 3.3% say democrat, 20 republican, 40% are unsure. how can he not be democrat. >> obviously a democrat, spreading the wealth. >> racially ambiguous. >> a socialist. we have to leave it there, thank you to dee dee, josh, katty and eugene. that is all joy reid in tomorrow at noon eastern. happy holidays to everybody especially all my producers and their families and especially
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," did the grinch steal christmas. a massive credit card theft at target targets holiday shoppers. one of the largest data breaches in history, 40 million customers credit card data could be compromised. what you need to know about protecting your accounts. nsa overreach? a white house task force recommends reining in snooping. we'll ask nsa chairman patrick leahy what he plans to do about the balance between privacy and security. >> the message is clear. the message to the nsa is now coming from every branch of governme government, from every corner of the nation. you've gone too far.