Skip to comments.Obama: I'll Fight To Strip Telecom Immunity From FISA
Posted on 06/21/2008 5:01:07 PM PDT by The_Republican
(CBS/AP) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., issued a statement in support of the House's update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but said he would try to strip a provision granting immunity to telecommunication companies when the bill comes to a vote in the Senate next week.
The House approved a compromise bill Friday that would set new electronic surveillance rules that would also shield telecoms from lawsuits arising from their participation in the government's warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and computer lines in the United States.
The government eavesdropped on American phone and computer lines for almost six years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks without permission from the FISA Court, the special panel established for that purpose under the original 1978 law.
Some 40 lawsuits have been filed against the telecommunications companies by groups and individuals who say the Bush administration illegally monitored their phone calls or e-mails.
Obama said there is "little doubt" that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, "has abused [its] authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders."
"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.
"[The bill] does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses."
The House approved the legislation 293-129.
The White House had threatened to veto any surveillance bill that did not also shield the companies.
Critics say granting immunity to telecoms would scrap the pending lawsuits and prevent any public airing of details about the government's surveillance activities.
Last February, when an earlier version of the FISA bill came to a vote, Obama voted for an amendment to strip the telecom immunity provision from the bill. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted in favor of keeping immunity for the telecoms.
Speaking in an interview to be aired on Bloomberg television this weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that he may schedule a separate vote on stripping immunity from the bill, although he expressed pessimism about its success.
"Probably we can't take that out of the bill, but I'm going to try," Reid told "Political Capital with Al Hunt."
Marxist hate private industry.
Not unexpected for a muslim to fight to protect mass-murdering muslim brethren.
Who gains from his plan?
OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!
Of course it is! It's the new post-racial day...
Does anyone know who any of these companies or groups are and if we can get their names?
Definitely a WTF. If the government is calling the tune, why should anyone be able to sue the companies who are merely doing their bidding? The answer, of course, is that it is the Alinsky way to use the legal process dishonestly, in this case, to achieve ends or apply pressure judicially when they were unable to carry the day legislatively. Scum.
If you’re calling to the Afgan-Pakistan border several times a week, I would hope that someone in our government would be taking an interest.
The IDIOT with many many faces.
Thats it mental midget, remove the one element that makes the surveillance program work. Only a muslim who in intent upon destroying this country would make such an attempt to cripple our ability to defend ourselves.
When one looks at the 1st biracial candidate, almost every position he has on issues in in contradiction to what is best for the country.
When I read his statement, I thought, “Why would he say a stupid thing like that?” You answered my question. Thank you.
This guy is nuttier than McGovern.
McCain should handle this guy with ease. I hope somebody is keeping a log of all these issues.
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