Tea Partiers have long had a hunch that President Obama was a tyrant smugly unrestrained by the Constitution, but now they have proof! The revelation of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs is leaving the Tea Party feeling vindicated. "They say that those of us in the Tea Party wear tin foil hats and we’re out there and all that," Tea Party Tribune editor Ken Crow tells The Daily Beast's Michelle Cottle. "But take a look around!" FreedomWorks communications director Jackie Bodnar says, "This is definitely not an isolated thing… It’s part of a huge list of Fourth Amendment violations that have been happening for years."
The Tea Party told-ya-so's show the split between establishment Republicans and the conservative activists. House Speaker John Boehner called NSA leaker Edward Snowden a traitor. Rep. Peter King is even calling for Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter Snowden leaked to, to be prosecuted for treason. But on Tea Party Facebook pages, Snowden is a hero.
But perhaps the Tea Partiers are getting a little smug: they aren't pointing at the NSA story as proof of previous claims that Obama is a dictator, they're using it to bolster all of their Obama conspiracy theories. Here's an image -- NSA + Obamaphone -- posted by the Facebook group I AM THE TEA PARTY! and shared by groups like Right-Winged Birds of Pray.
Obamaphones, if you recall, was a theory that Obama was giving "his people" government goodies like free phone service in exchange for their votes. The program started under President Reagan, but now, apparently, it was all a trick to listen in on people's conversations.
Here's an NSA + Benghazi image posted by The Tea Party:
The group Barack Obama's Dead Fly posted this image, which is NSA + vaguely birtherist and transcripterist themes:
Worse, there's a new theory that the NSA's massive surveillance monitors us all -- except the very people who need to be surveilled the most: Muslims. Investor's Business Daily claims mosques are except from NSA monitoring because the FBI can't do undercover stings in mosques without high-level approval. "That's right, the government's sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized," an editorial claims. "Considering that the pretense for all this 'necessary' surveillance is to stop terrorism, it seems unusual to exclude mosques from examination. What is going on?" Breitbart.com's Elizabeth Sheld writes. This is exactly what a secret Muslim would do!
Glenn Beck, who has called Snowden a hero, promises he's got his own whistleblower who will "rock" the country in the next few hours. It will "show you how dire the situation is" in the country, and that once the whistle is blown, "you are going to witness things in American history that you've never witnessed before." Beck says, "this one document will take down pretty much the whole power structure" -- something the NSA documents clearly failed to do. Help us Glenn Beck, you're the Tea Party's only hope.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.