So here's another loopy conspiracy theory: the right-wing National Legal and Policy Center found (cleverly hidden right out in plain sight at www.fbo.gov) a Request For Proposal "to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites." The blogosphere is abuzz with how this is an attempt by Obama's secret team of socialist fascist secret Muslims to create an "enemies list"
Or, as Hot Air exposes...not.
The Presidential Records Act (PRA) essentially requires each administration to keep every pixel and keystroke ever published for later review by Congress or investigators, in case illegal activity takes place. We have seen this invoked ex post facto to the Clinton and Bush administrations, in the latter over e-mails sent and received outside the White House mail system. At that time, legal experts and investigators insisted that everything produced by an administration for anything remotely concerning official business had to be archived within the EOP. [Executive Office of the President]
A more careful reading of this RFP shows that to be the project. The contract directs the contractor to archive the “information posted on publicly-accessible web sites where the EOP maintains a presence“, including social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and so on. It doesn’t call for everything on those networks to be archived, but only “information posted by non-EOP persons on publicly-accessible web sites where the EOP maintains a presence[,] both comments posted on pages created by EOP and messages sent to EOP accounts on those web sites.” In other words, the archiving will include interaction on EOP websites and pages, but not anything else.
In other words, this massive spying effort is nothing more than applying the retention requirements for Presidential e-mail to Facebook and Twitter messages.
Somehow I'm sure that if the Obama administration didn't do this, these same folks would be complaining how he was using social networking sites as an attempt to get around the PRA. (Like, say, how Bush administration crooks used an e-mail server run by the Republican National Committee to circumvent the PRA.)