Well, That Certainly is Change… Obama Completes 180 on FISA
No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens, no more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime, no more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war, no more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are, and it’s not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.
To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.
Reporter: Senator, last January, you pledged to support a filibuster of a warrantless surveillance bill if it included retroactive immunity for telecommunications…
Senator Barack Obama: Right.
Reporter: Last week, the House passed a bill that effectively gives the telecoms that immunity. You said you would support it.
— Barack Obama explaining his decision to vote for the FISA Amendments Act at a news conference after securing the Democratic Presidential nomination, June 2008
Oh, that’s Change all right, but it’s not the Change I Can Believe In.
Physical searches and seizures, telephone taps and electronic monitoring without any warrant or approval of any kind for periods of 67 days, and then even if a judge finally makes a review after 67 days and says “NO” at that point, the President can keep whatever information he’s obtained anyway? That’s the FISA Amendments Act. That’s the law, thanks to Barack Obama who voted for it.
That’s all history. Here’s where we come to current events:
Today there are victims of this American surveillance without warrants, victims who want to take their case to court. Barack Obama wants to shut them up and take away their rights. Just this week, President Barack Obama sent his lawyers to shut down a court case by Americans who were spied on without the warrant required by the Constitution of the United States of America. The Obama administration’s position? It would hurt national security for Americans’ constitutional rights to be upheld in a court of law. Violations of Americans’ constitutional rights are a “state secret” that must be kept secret for Americans’ own good.
That was the position of George W. Bush. It is the position of Barack Obama.
That’s not Change I Can Believe In. And it’s not even a Change from the Bush years. It’s a Change from the promises Barack Obama made to win the primaries, a Change he made in favor of his own presidential power.
Don’t make Barack Obama an unquestioned hero figure. Make him accountable.
Did you write a letter to the editor of the newspaper when you found out that Americans were being spied on without warrants? Did you criticize George W. Bush for his defense of it? Then be consistent: write a letter to the editor criticizing Barack Obama for his defense of it, too. Bring it to people’s attention. Ask people what they think. Ask your member of Congress what their position on the FISA Amendments Act is. Ask why not one member of the House or Senate has introduced a bill to change the law to put it back into alignment with our Constitution.
P.S. Yesterday, a federal appeals court rejected the Obama-Bush position that violations of people’s constitutional rights should remain a state secret. The courts are the last piece of the government to defend constitutional rights in this country. Watch very carefully when President Barack Obama nominates new judges to sit on the federal courts. Watch what the nominees say about the Constitution. Watch what they say about your rights.