July 11th, 2008
01:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama's surveillance vote spurs blogging backlash

Sen. Barack Obama said he voted for the surveillance bill because it will help protect the nation.

Sen. Barack Obama said he voted for the surveillance bill because it will help protect the nation.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama's vote for a federal surveillance law that he had previously opposed has sparked a backlash from his online advocates, who had energized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In October, Obama had vowed to help filibuster an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gave telecommunication companies that had cooperated with President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program immunity from lawsuits.

After 9/11, Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop, without the mandated warrant from a federal court, on electronic communication involving terrorist suspects.

Critics said Bush's Terrorist Surveillance Program was a violation of civil liberties.

The Senate voted Wednesday on the bill updating FISA - which had a provision to shield telecommunications companies that had cooperated in the surveillance. Obama joined the 68 other senators who voted to send the bill to the president's desk.

Full story

soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Sgt. Fury

    Looks like the messiah is not the agent of hope and change and just another pandering politician like all the rest. He is just in a prettier package. Nothing more.

    July 11, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. The Surly Scholar

    Obama voted for this bill because it does one good thing: requires a warrant in order to allow domestic surveillance. Obama said himself during a press conference yesterday that his reading of the bill led him to decide on whether or not to leave the law as it is and let the warrantless wiretaps continue, or update the law so that at least SOME degree of the fourth amendment is protected.

    As for the telecom immunity stipulations, he said he didn't like them and was working to have them removed, but unfortunately they got through. However, having read the bill, I noticed that it only protects the telecom companies that were complicit in the warrantless wiretapping incidents from civil suits, not from criminal charges. That means that they can't be sued, but they can be brought up on criminal charges by the grand jury.

    So what does that mean? It means that if he becomes president he WILL take measures to ensure that these companies that betrayed the trust of their customers are brought up on criminal charges, prosecuted, and appropriately fined.

    Based on my reading of the bill, I have to say I actually agree with him that voting for it was probably the right move.

    July 11, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Jon

    His true colors are starting to show.

    July 11, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. vINCe

    You people are unbelieveable! This is not a big deal! He voted against an earlier version of the bill that would have given BUSH surveillance authority. THERE HAVE BEEN CHANGES TO THE BILL HE VOTED FOR....the bill was improved. And the person most likely to use this new authority is going to be Obama....He KNOWS he's going to beat McCain....SO DO I.....

    So the improvements in the bill that take some of the unilaterilism away from the POTUS plus the confidence that Obama will be using the authority next year allowed him to vote for the bill that will potentially protect the United States.....WHERE'S THE PROBLEM???

    July 11, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. Molly

    What – obama CHANGED his mind – AGAIN -!!!!!
    Obama is a Radical FRAUD – he changes his message daily to suit his political needs – tricks he learned from his corrupt Chicago friends. The DNC picked the WRONG guy -made a "Bonehead" mistake – better fix it – or the Dems will Lose – Again!

    McCain – good 2nd choice – we can TRUST him to take good care of our country – can we say the same about obama???

    July 11, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Lim

    OK, all together chanting now you left-of-the-left sheeples:

    Obama 08: YES, WE SCAM!

    July 11, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Ray

    Put it like this. How many other 72 year olds do you know starting another job? Not to mention the hardest, most plysically and mentally demanding post in the world?!? McCain is NOT the man! He needs to go to Florida and chill. Enjoy the rest of his life. Leave the heavy lifting to the New Kid on the block! Mr. Ivy League aka Barack

    Obama 08

    July 11, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Amod, Portland ME

    it is so nice to have 2 candidates who are adept at Flip Flopping!

    Obama's Change you can believe in: i.e. you better believe that he is constantly going to change his views! (FISA, NAFTA, Public Finance, Iraq War, to name a few)

    July 11, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Lisa

    I can't take this anymore please someone save us from this disaster that's about to happen.

    July 11, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Down with Obama


    Obama is evil!!

    July 11, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. P. Morrison

    Understand he gave a reason for the change. Tim Russert said it's ok to change your mind if you have a good reason & explanation for doing so. I'm sure Obama used his best judgement when making his decision.


    July 11, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Lake Michigan

    Hillary supported it and now Barack does. What's the problem?

    July 11, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Matt, Manchester, CT

    It's funny to see how each time an Obama surrogate says something off-color or problematic, they are disregarded as individuals speaking their opinion, but if some McCain surrogate says something equally as inflammatory – then it basically came from McCain's mouth as well.

    July 11, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Shawn - Ga

    We will see more and more of this as his pretty words are forced to face the real world. Obviously "present" will not cut it now as a candidate for the highest office. Now he will be forced to show what he will and won't do, not just give pretty speeches that don't show any substance at all.

    I pray that the nation opens our eyes before November comes and a rock star is elected who cannot actually do the job. People like to say that being a POW does not make you ready for being President. Well that is the truth, however YEARS in Congress and the Senate does. A few months with no real voting record does NOT.

    July 11, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Jeff

    In October, Obama promised to help filibuster an update of FISA that would grant immunity to telecommunication companies that had cooperated with President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. Now he votes for the measure? Bill Richardson's tired explanation that the "changes" that were added to the bill allowed Obama to vote for it is a bunch of hogwash. The bill was not substantively changed. It is basically the same bill. This should underscore Obama's inexperience and quite frankly his incompetence at this time. A few more years of actually doing something in the Senate might season him enough to be president, but right now he is all ego and arrogance with no substance.

    July 11, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Steve

    Obama made the wrong decision on this issue, and he should be called out for it. But anyone on the left who is overly mortified by this decision was fooling him/herself about Obama in the first place. The guy is a mainstream Democrat, and he will compromise. To me, this is not a deal-breaker, and I would advise anyone who thinks it should be to carefully consider the ramifications of a McCain presidency. The doctrinaire left might call this "lesser-evilism", but to me, it's common sense.

    July 11, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Keith R.

    He gave an explanation as to why he voted that way. He would rather have the program, broken as it still is, but better than it was last Sept than not at all.

    It is a consideration of the pros vs cons and I think it was right of him to vote how he believed rather than just to "preserve record".

    July 11, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Former HC Girl

    FLIP FLOP FLIP FLOP... ETC ETC. Now all those fans of his are becoming the WHINERS!!
    PUMA – we are trying our best to keep him out and send him back to his cronies in Chicago where he will feel right at home.

    July 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Frances

    Typical politician. Regardless my vote will be going to him and not McCain.

    July 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Dave

    Just when I thought I was taking a liking to you.....you go and sell us out with no respect for the 4th amendment. Scratch you off as you appear to be in the back pocet of the military-industrial complex like all the others.

    July 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. whiner

    ummm,we are still at war with terrorists.regardless of bush's illegal war in iraq,we still must protect this nation from attack.obama has always said he will do whatever is necessary to protect our nation.i'm sure the bill has been changed enough to protect our rights as citizens of the usa.the only wiretapping allowed ,will now have legal judicial oversight,and will only apply to international communications.the bush administration has left itself wide open ,to plenty of other possible crimes,and litigation,and the issue of immunity for telecommunication companies who were 'forced' to cooperate with illegal wiretapping,is far from the only way to get to the bottom of bush corruption.

    July 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Florida voter

    I always knew that once hed be the presumptive nominee, he'd be doing all thoses flip-flops. IS THIS CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN? He's a typical politician.

    July 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Old News

    Ok CNN stop trying to fan the flames, he knows he has backlash he already said " he knew he would take some lumps" for supporting this bill, you have already covered this story, in fact it looks like the same article as the original that was posted earlier this week. Also stop trying to divide the Clinton and Obama's with the continous coverage, Obama and Clinton are fine it is the supporters, leave well enough alone, GOSH!!!!

    July 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Robert

    One more example of how what he said during the primary isn't what he means to do. I remind everyone of his advisor telling the Canadian official that Obama wouldn't change NAFTA but he had to say he was against it to win the primary. All of his supporters cry that he is going to change Washington; how, by lying to win and then doing what he wants? That is change we can all believe in, we have seen it too many times. Hillary would have been a better president, now we have to have McCain because more and more people are seeing that Obama is a bigger liar than george bush.

    July 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. True

    Obama had to do what he felt would protect American citizens, he's not always going o agree with left wing Liberals, but atleast he came to Washington and voted unlike John McCain who didn't vote for the Bill at all nor the GI Bill. Although McCain like to take credit for things he didn't do.

    July 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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