The New York Times editorial board, which twice endorsed President Obama and has championed many planks of his agenda, on Thursday turned on the president over the government’s mass collection of phone data — saying the administration has “lost all credibility.”
The grey lady’s editorial section lately has shown frustration with the administration’s civil liberties record. It has criticized the escalation of the lethal drone program, and it lashed out after the Justice Department acknowledged seizing reporters’ phone records last month.
The report that the National Security Agency has been collecting phone records from millions of Verizon subscribers appeared to be the last straw.
An editorial published late Thursday said the administration was using the “same platitude” it uses in every case of overreach — that “terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us.”
The editorial continued: “Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility.”
The editorial board claimed Obama “is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”
The language was a far cry from the Times’ Oct. 23, 2008, endorsement of then-candidate Obama. At the time, the Times praised Obama’s “cool head and sound judgment,” and said he was “putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change.”
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