Saturday, June 21, 2008

OBAMA SUPPORTS AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL SEARCHES

WASHINGTON POST Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) announced his support for a sweeping intelligence surveillance law that has been heavily denounced by the liberal activists who have fueled the financial engines of his presidential campaign. In his most substantive break with the Democratic Party's base since becoming the presumptive nominee, Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, likely next week, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists. . .

"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," Obama said in a statement hours after the House approved the legislation 293-129.

This marks something of a reversal of Obama's position from an earlier version of the bill, which was approved by the Senate Feb. 12, when Obama was locked in a fight for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Obama missed the February vote on that FISA bill as he campaigned in the "Potomac Primaries," but issued a statement that day declaring "I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty."

GLENN GREENWALD, SALON Telling Americans that we have to give up basic constitutional rights -- and allow rampant lawbreaking -- if we want to save ourselves from "the grave threats we face" sounds awfully familiar. . . . Obama has obviously calculated that sacrificing the rule of law and the Fourth Amendment is a worthwhile price to pay to bolster his standing a tiny bit in a couple of swing states.

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