Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Iran Nuke Deal or Bust: Obama's Second Term Agenda Centerpiece

""Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says President Obama is likely to sign any nuclear deal he can get with Iran because it’s the centerpiece of his second-term agenda.
In a wide-ranging interview, Bolton also defended his strong support for the NSA’s bulk data collection program that expired Sunday night and explained why he decided against a presidential run in 2016.
The Iranian nuclear threat emerged again on Monday when the New York Times reported that Iran’s enrichment program is ramping up, contrary to Obama administration assurances.
“With only one month left before a deadline to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, international inspectors have reported that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel increased about 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, partially undercutting the Obama administration’s contention that the Iranian program had been ‘frozen’ during that period,” said the Times in its lead paragraph.
Bolton said this disconnect between administration statements and the true state of Iranian activities raises even more red flags about a formal agreement.
“It underlines just how feckless the president’s policy is with respect to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, how dangerous and how flawed this deal that they’ve been negotiating is turning out to be,” Bolton said in a radio interview with WND and Radio America.
While Bolton thinks the recent injury to Secretary of John Kerry could postpone a final deal with Iran, he firmly believes Obama will take whatever agreement he can get from the mullahs in Tehran.
“The president’s press people have already said this is his second-term signature issue, the equivalent of Obamacare in the first term,” Bolton said. “He’s going to sign a deal with Iran, I’m afraid, with Iran no matter how bad it is.”
Even if talks were to break down somehow, Bolton believes simply engaging with Iran has done America’s enemy enormous good.
“The administration’s efforts are both legitimizing the regime, which is a tragic mistake, given that it’s still the world’s largest financial supporter of international terrorism,” he said. “It also legitimizes the nuclear program, which really paves the road for Iran to become a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. This is very dangerous.”
Bolton also believes it was dangerous for Congress to let certain aspects of the Patriot Act expire over the weekend and for lawmakers to reject giving the National Security Agency, or NSA, the power to collect bulk data as a means of tracing terrorist connections.
Led by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., lawmakers concerned about the program’s intrusion into Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure succeeded in ending the program that a federal appeals court said was never authorized by Congress in the first place.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed the House version of the USA Freedom Act. Bolton isn’t impressed.
“I think that’s a very poor substitute for the Patriot Act program,” he said.
Under the previous policy, the NSA collected information on every phone call in the U.S., listing both the numbers involved in each call and the duration of the calls. Critics like Sen. Paul contend the government has no right to that information without probable cause.
Bolton disagrees.
“Unless you own a telephone company, if you want to make a phone call, you’ve got to go through a third party. The records we’re talking about are not your records. They’re the telephone company’s billing records,” said Bolton, who says other sources are far more likely to act irresponsibly with Americans’ information.
“These records are like bank records, department store records, Amazon.com records, all of which are sold to other commercial ventures. I think Google and Facebook probably know more about you than the NSA ever will,” he said, adding that the collection of any data beyond the numbers called and the length of those calls requires a Fourth Amendment compliant warrant.
Calling the recent debate “a bizarre moment in American politics,” Bolton, without naming Paul or any other critic of the bulk data collection program, slammed them for what he considers a series of misleading points.
“I think this debate has been characterized by demagoguery and misinformation,” he said. “It’s very hard to catch up with the truth when some of the opponents of the program are saying things that leave many Americans with the implication NSA is listening to their phone calls or reading their emails. Absolutely not true and yet it’s very hard to have a rational discussion when the distortions are so prevalent.""

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