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Computers behaving badly

President Barack Obama's biggest defender in the latest NSA scandal turns out to be a Republican, Rep. Mike Rogers (above), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Now it’s Spain complaining that the U.S. is tapping private phone calls. Sixty million phone calls in Spain were allegedly tracked by the NSA last December. Add that to the French calls we monitored, and the German Chancellor’s cell phone, and suddenly President Obama isn’t the benign leader Europe once loved.

But the president’s biggest defender in this turns out to be a Republican, Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

On CNN, he said those allegations that we gathered information on millions of French phone calls, “This was about a counter-terrorism program that had nothing to do with French citizens. And I would argue, by the way, if the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks!”

As for tapping German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, he said that even though Germany is a friend, we must keep in mind the lessons of the 1930s.

“In the 1930s, we decided we were going to turn off our ability to even listen to friends. Look what happened in the [1930s] – the rise of fascism, the rise of communism, the rise of imperialism, and we didn’t see any of it,” Rogers said.

We want to make sure our friends aren’t incubating another Hitler over there. I’m sure our German allies will appreciate hearing that.

So, the president’s second term seems to be at the mercy of two computer systems.

A huge computerized surveillance system collecting too much personal information, and a huge computerized health care exchange which refuses to collect any.

Our spy computers can track millions of phone calls all over the world, but our health care computers choke on your address and your birthday.

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