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Zer Netmouse
July 18th, 2008
10:39 am


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Response from Obama Campaign about the FISA bill he voted for
I wrote to the Obama campaign to express my grave disappointment in Senator Obama regarding the recently passed "compromise" that granted immunity to telecoms and possibly hid certain details of what actually happened in the past few years. This is Obama's response:

Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

After months of negotiation, the House passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act. Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future.

It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I voted in the Senate three times to remove this provision so that we could seek full accountability for past offenses. Unfortunately, these attempts were unsuccessful. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me.
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Bah! I'm sorry but this bill is crap and even the comprimises are crap. The entire "security" infrastructure changes they've done since 9/11 is all a bunch of smoke and mirrors designed soley to impress the american public that they are doing something with little to none increase in actual security.

Any time someone mentions "grave threats" or "national security" be sure it is a sign of someone in the government is doing something they shouldn't and/or is getting paid a lot of money for whatever is being debated.
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
PS. We're asking people with little to no actual training in security to decide these things.
Date:July 18th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
It does not sound reasonable to me. It's understandable that he's pandering to the right at this point in the election cycle (ref also his statements on late-term abortion), but in doing so he is alienating me, and voters like me.

Sadly, he knows that we'll have to hold our collective noses and vote for him anyway, because McCain is much worse. So he can basically pander all he wants. It does make it hard for me to want to send him money, though, because at this point I feel that making donations is endorsing his sucking up to the religious right and the security fear right.
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)

Obama's FISA Position

There are a bunch of lies in this response. I believe Glenn Greenwald too it apart in his blog some time ago.

The part that pisses me off is this line: "Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over." The only reason the illegal program is over is that Congress has retroactively made it legal.

[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
Feel the spin! My head is whirling.
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
I want to commend you for following through and demanding an explanation from the Obama campaign for his vote.

Unfortunately, I concur with what has been written here. His people feel that the inexcusable excuse of pandering to McCain's electorate core is a necessity to gain a few undecided votes.

That in itself is a sad commentary.
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Not the Messiah. Just another bleeping politician. ;)
[User Picture]
Date:July 18th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed working for his campaign. Note the tense.
I believe in the US Constitution, the Fourth amendment, and I still believe in hope, progressive values and the opportunity for true change. That is what I always believed in.
When Senator Obama supported those things, it appeared we were on the same side.
And now, we ain't.
I'll vote for him, but this is one more reason that his money-raising efforts are struggling compared to where he was in February.
[User Picture]
Date:July 19th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
Now that the primaries are over, witness Obama's at least superficial race to the center.

That being said, if McCain is running for Bush's third term, Obama is running for Carter's second. Please, someone wake me up when this is all over.
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