The Atlantic Wire reports:
A couple in Philadelphia has filed a class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency and Verizon, claiming they and their phone records were targeted for surveillance because of their outspoken criticism of Barack Obama and the U.S. military. This is believed to be the first official lawsuit filed against the government and the company, since it was revealed that Verizon had been ordered to turn over phone metadata for all of its customers.So you thought the NSA scandal was about the excesses of the national security state? Silly you. That not what it's about -- or at least that's not what they want it to be about in Conservistan.
The couple who filed the class-action suit are ... Charles and Mary Ann Strange, the parents of a Navy SEAL who was killed along with 37 others, when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in 2011. Several of the families of those lost in the attack ... specifically blame President Obama's polices for leading to those deaths. Among their many complaints: ... that because many of those killed that day were members of the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden, publicizing their role in the earlier mission made them targets for retaliation; and that rules of engagement prevented the helicopter and the men on it from fighting back. They also claim that a Muslim cleric was invited to speak at the funeral, who then insulted the dead servicemen in Arabic, although there's little evidence to support that charge....
The incident in which the SEALs were killed has been frequently covered on Fox News, both at the time of the incident and since. Fox video stories about the incident include "Families blame WH for 2011 SEAL Team 6 tragedy" (May 10, 2013) and "Families of SEAL Team 6 demand answers" (May 19, 2013).
That the Obama administration threatened the safety of the SEALs by revealing too much information about the bin Laden raid was the main argument of a group called the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, which made the charges throughout the 2012 presidential campaign. One of the group's spokesmen (as I've noted several times here) was Gabriel Gomez, who's now the Republican Senate candidate in Massachusetts, and who continues to level this charge against Obama. But this group is far from alone -- here, for instance, is a Human Events story also accusing the Obama administration of putting these SEALs at risk.
Outrage at reports of an imam's speech at a service for the SEALs is all over the place -- see GlennBeck.com, The Washington Times, Breitbart, Pam Geller, the Daily Caller, and even the site of wingnut Alaska senatorial wannabe Joe Miller. All the charges are neatly summed up in this Fox & Friends clip, posted with the title "Obama : Sent Radical Muslim Cleric to condemn Seal Team 6 to hell during Funeral"
(Yes, we're told that the imam not only spoke, but condemned the SEALs to eternal damnation. Wonkette's Doktor Zoom debunks that notion here.)
I understand why the right wants to steer the NSA story in this direction -- the NSA story seems to provide a perfect opportunity for Obama-bashing, but that seems to require making common cause with people who think Obama is pursuing the war on terror (or whatever the hell we're calling it now) too vigorously. The hawks and chickenhawks of the GOP crazy base aren't going to go for that. And so the story has to be twisted in knots, until Obama is somehow using a spy program aimed at jihadists to deliberately make us less safe from jihadists, by spying harder. If you're a regular consumer of wingnut propaganda, it makes perfect sense.
Also, too: it's the IRS scandal redux. You and I think the scandal is that everyone in America is under surveillance, but these parents say that because they hate Obama and love freedom, they're under extra-special surveillance. Again, if you're a wingnut propaganda consumer, this completely makes sense.
AND: I neglected to mention that the Stranges' lawyer is Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, whom you may recall from the Clinton years. Klayman calls President Obama "our American 'fuhrer'" and says the surveillance program is intended "to further his pro-Muslim, anti-Israel, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-white, pro-homosexual, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-abortion, pro-atheist, socialist and ultra leftist agendas with what many perceive to be his desire to impose a dictatorial, tyrannical hold on our citizenry." Hey, don't hold back Larry. Tell us how you really feel.