Sharpton: You Can’t Blame Obama for Secret Surveillance

Melanie Arter | June 11, 2013 | 11:31am EDT
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Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation" (AP Photo)

( – Rev. Al Sharpton said Monday that President Barack Obama is not to blame for the National Security Agency's secret surveillance program – former President George W. Bush is, because laws allowing it were enacted under his administration.

“These are laws put into effect under President Bush. There are plenty of Democrats who are upset about this too. I do not agree with the Patriot Act, but you can’t blame President Obama for it,” Sharpton said on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.”

In 2009, however, Obama extended three provisions of the Patriot Act – allowing roving wiretaps, which would allow monitoring of an individual instead of a specific number; seizure of financial, medical, library and other records of suspected terrorists; and monitoring someone suspected of engaging in terrorism who may not be linked to a specific terrorist group, the Washington Times reported on Sept. 16, 2009.

A former CIA employee contractor recently leaked details of the NSA’s secret program collecting data on phone calls and Internet activity of Americans.

Sharpton showed a clip of conservative talk show host Glenn Beck who warned, “If we don’t stop this right now,” the U.S. would be remembered “as the most evil nation in the history of the world.”

“We will dwarf what Germany did. There wouldn’t be a Jew alive on the planet today if Hitler had this technology. Not a Jew alive on the planet. Not one,” Beck said in the clip.

Sharpton asked radio personality and civil rights activist Joe Madison to comment about Beck’s comparison of the NSA surveillance program to Nazi Germany.

“Now Joe, the talkers are comparing this to Nazi Germany. I mean where was this talk pre-Obama? I agree [that] now we need to look at this, and I was yelling about it, and you were when Bush was in when this started,” Sharpton said.

“And you’re absolutely right, and what one should do – and especially those of us in the media – is we ought to go back and get Rush Limbaugh, get Glenn Beck, who is very active with the other network, and play their tapes and how they defended the Bush administration when the two of us and others were saying this was an overreach on the part of the government,” Madison said.

Madison accused Limbaugh and Beck of being hypocritical.

“The tapes are out there. Their words are out there, and you can witness for yourself their hypocrisy,” Madison said.

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