06/11/2013 06:26 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2013

Obama's Impeachment Fear Over Surveillance

As regards the newly revealed surveillance program, there is one matter not addressed by political critics and media commentators: the issue of impeachment. The argument is as follows: President Obama is caught in circumstances somewhat similar to what President Truman faced over the atomic bomb. The programs presided over by these two presidents, though massively different, had one thing in common -- they were ostensibly set up to save American lives. Whether Truman may or may not have had reservations about using atomic weapons, he had to know that, had he not dropped the bomb on Japan -- and the American people later found out that as a result of his private concerns, thousands of Americans needlessly died -- he would have been impeached. Similarly, it is probable (though not provable) that Obama has had his own private doubts about the surveillance program (a program known to all top Congressional leaders), but, had he discontinued it over questions about its legality, and a brutal terrorist attack occurred on his watch, Congress would have started impeachment proceedings against him for failing to use all means at hand to protect the American people. This is the dilemma that has confronted Obama. Whether the surveillance program is the correct response to possible terrorism is still up for debate, especially since officials now claim -- at least publicly -- that in its seven years of operation, it has stopped but one plot that we know of -- a conspiracy to bomb NYC subways. (If only one, were all of the technological expenditures, the concentrated manpower, the vast snooping apparatus, the mammoth collection facilities, the widespread secrecy worth it?) But politically, Obama had no choice. He had to continue the surveillance program to preserve his presidency.