President Barack Obama lamented the personal loss of anonymity as Commander in Chief this week during a newly released episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
After being asked by the comedian to compare his current life to that before the presidency, Obama responded by stating that he has since learned the value of being anonymous.
“I would love to just be taking a walk and then I run into you, you’re sitting on a bench, right, and suddenly I say, ‘Hey, Jerry, how are you doing?'” the president said. “That moment when you lost your anonymity… and anonymity is not something you think about as being valuable.”
Despite his remark, the president, who once criticized the Bush administration for expanding foreign intelligence that swept up the communications of U.S. citizens, has shown himself to be in stark opposition to the anonymity of everyday Americans.
“This administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance civil liberties. It is not,” Obama said during a 2007 speech. “There are no shortcuts to protecting America.”
Even after revelations made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who provided journalists with documents showing widespread domestic surveillance including metadata collection, President Obama remained steadfast in his support of surveilling innocent Americans.
“Obama did not promise changes to the program amid the resulting storm of controversy, but did authorize a review of NSA practices and more steps to protect personal privacy,” noted CNN’s Surveillance program is now Obama’s to own.”