Obama Votes for FISA and Immunity for Bush, Telecoms – Clinton Votes Against It


More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late. Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.

The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.


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  • July 10, 2008 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

    He voted FOR the amendment (Dodd Amdt. No. 5064) that would take AWAY telecom immunity yesterday, which lost.
    This needs a mention.

  • Trish
    July 10, 2008 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    And according to NPR the rest of the bill, the part not dealing with the telecoms, was exactly the same as the existing one. The problem has never been with the FISA legislation, it’s been that the Bush administration ignores it.

  • July 10, 2008 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Obama voted for all three amendments, which makes it even more puzzling why he voted for the final bill. The part of the law that is new gives the telecoms and Bush retroactive immunity from civil action. Why any Democrat, especially Obama, would vote for that defies explanation. This is a major victory for George Bush, and a very dark day for the Democratic Party.

  • getaclue
    July 11, 2008 - 6:18 am | Permalink

    not puzzling, obama’s a whore, just like the rest of em.’

    a cheap whore at that

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