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.

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soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. saga4obama

    go to dumpmccain.com and be informed before you make a stupid vote.

    VOTE Obama 08....Take Our Country Back.

    July 11, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    so how mahy tvotes mccain voted for that was realy legitmaly violating civil liberties to the fullest degree..honestly this distraction in saying former civil lawyer would intentionally violate his who career is indescribly noneses

    July 11, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Rob

    The whiney agents of McLame can't have it both ways. You say he is Bush then you say he is Mao Tse Tung. Truth is he is a moderate who bases his decisions on common sense.

    July 11, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Get used to it Obama supporters. He flip flops so much he makes Kerry look like the Rock of Gibraltar. FISA, NAFTA, campaign financing, Iraq, the fence with Mexico, Wright, Clark, Access Holiwood, you name it, he's either lied or filp flopped on it. He has no economic policy other than raise taxes. He has no energy policy. he has no experience. There's still time to pick a real candidate at the convention.

    July 11, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. aaa

    come on people this is something we should not wory about. CNN should report on mccains flip floping. mccain go home~!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Black Republican - New York, New York

    If he becomes President, Obama will need this vital tool or resource to track terrorists. This bill is not designed to get at Americans, because Americans and not plotting to attack Americans. This bill is designed against terrorists, so Liberals and others who HATE Bush need to step back and take a deep breath, and hold that breath in until they turn blue and expire.

    I want the Liberals to tell us which American citizen has had their phone zapped by the feds?

    July 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Michael, Torrance, CA

    America, get used to this kind of flip flopping from Obama because He will do it again on the things that He has actually explained where He stands. Most issues He hasn't even told us where He stands, I bet He doesn't even know where He stands on most issues. That way no one can say He flip flopped. But hey, America wanted change. Now this is change!

    July 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. NoBama

    Can we send Obama to the Colombian jungle.

    I hear that the revolutionary guerrillas are looking for a new leader.

    July 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Gaffer in Dover, NH

    Well, doesn't the bill have less or no provisions that violate civil liberties? I mean, if it took let bygones be bygones to prevent future violations, isn't that more important? Isn't the whole purpose of punishment to prevent further transgressions?

    What gets me is that the phone companies didn't profit from this, and what we're expecting them to do is get sued or attacked by the government. So I'm not so sure we should punish them as opposed to punishing our government.

    July 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. David E

    The wiretapping by Bush began prior to 9/11. Research it.

    July 11, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. JJ

    Beware of the comments you read here. There are over 4000 trolls posting comments on behalf of Obama to sway ignorant readers and voters.

    July 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Tim

    Whiner Gate!!! We want to hear MCCain tald about this. We are not satisfied with his lame exceuse. CNN, Why is this not still at the top of the Ticker.

    First he Gramm calls us whiners and says that we are in a mental recession. Then he says he meant leaders were whiners, not Americans ( a lie), but stands by his recession comment. Then in an interview with The Washington Times, Gramm then says that "Technically, a "recession" is two straight quarters of negative growth; so technically, we may in fact not be in a recession. Or we might, but don't yet know it." He is a top Economic advisor for McCain, but doesn't speak for him. Now McCain admits he knows nothing about the economy. This is a sad state of affairs.

    July 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    P. Morrison July 11th, 2008 2:29 pm ET

    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.


    i agree with that, but couldn't you say the same about McCain and offshore drilling the price of gas being a good reason & explanation for doing so.

    July 11, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. proud army and navy mom

    the bill does not protect the telecommunication from criminal prosecution.

    Sen obama knows the bill has some problems but you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    He will be a president for us all not just democrats. We are not going to agree on everything anyone decides, but there has to be room for compromise.

    July 11, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Patrick Henry's ghost, Ft. Myers


    Methinks he should have kept his crib notes in his pocket.
    Then again, his less than gradual move to the center seems to be a clear strategy–and yet, has resulted in the left and "way-left" being miffed.

    Are these people really so simple minded and innoncent not to have seen from all of the other indications of his pandering and deceitful use of the tongue?

    Democrats–you deserve what you get.

    July 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Ms. RDS

    I think people need to go back and read up on the law, its so much misinformation and bad reporting out there its sad. He said he would vote against the bill if it included telecomm immunity. He did not flip flop because he voted for the bill(which has been in existence since 1978) AND VOTED FOR THE RESOLUTION THAT WOULD STRIP THE IMMUNITY AWAY! Thats what he said he would do and he did. What I don't understand is why McCain isn't getting called out for his 100,000 flip flops a day....ironic isn't it! People say they don't know where Obama stands. I say we don't know where McCain stands he changes everyday.

    July 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Ian

    Give the guy a break. Maybe he didn't read the bill. ; )

    July 11, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Ms. RDS

    People also need to understand that the resolution tightened the restrictions on FISA, so that you have to go through more procedures and regulations than before. And you can't blame the companies that were pressured by the US government who claimed to be doing it in the interest of safty to the American people. Blame the leaders who authorized this, not the companies probably thought they were doing what they should to help in someone protect this country.

    July 11, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Steven

    And people wondered why I was Hillary supporter. Since Barack won't have her as his VP, I can't vote for him. And I can't vote for McCain. Third party, anyone?

    July 11, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Jay G

    This is really bad. All the Hope and Dreamers look like miserable sheep blindly following the herd of CHANGE.

    July 11, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Ken

    I am disappointed in Obama's vote.

    But it is quite hypocritic for you neo-nuggets to come on here and deride him for voting the way YOU would want him too. His problem is with me, not you morons who won't vote for him anyway.

    The lack of intellectual integrity on the right is highlighted nicely by the following comment made above in the midst of a rant that claims Obama and [D]s don't care about civil liberties:
    "At least McCain didn't vote on this one!"....as if McCain didn't support the legislation, and the get-out-of-jail-free card handed to the telecoms. How many [R]s voted against the legislation? Please!....you 29% true-believers are delusional!

    July 11, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Chut Pata

    I will still vote Obama but wont send him anymore money. He can get all the money he needs from the telecom companies.

    July 11, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Steve

    Almost all the posting here is ignorant.

    Sad thing is DEMO or GOP , it is all the same.

    July 11, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. James in Tx

    Good for Obama! No lawsuit against the telecoms would be upheld by the courts anyway because they acted in good faith to a government directive to turn over the information. Voting for the bill merely recognized that fact, and says lets move on to more important issues. Along with statutorily recognizing the immunity the common law has already given, the bill now requires warrants for the searches and wiretaps, strengthening our 4th Amendment protections.

    July 11, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Robert

    Just another in the growing list of flip-flops for Senator Obama…..campaign financing, NAFTA, FISA, Iraq 'refined' position….LOL. Same old Washington DC with no change here! he blows with the wind.

    Vote for America……Vote for McCain!

    Clinton stuck to her word and voted NO!

    July 11, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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