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. Joe

    I, too, am no longer part of the democratic party. The way Hillary was treated by this party; the party that stands for equal rights for all, made me change my affiliation completely. They treated her in the primary and to this day with no respect and I will never vote for a democrat again....unless Hillary runs again.

    July 11, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Lim

    Obama 08: Change? You'd better believe it!

    July 11, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. kia

    Shame on you Mr. Obama. You just destroyed a die hard fan and supporter and long time volunteer worker of yours. I thought you message of "support the consitution and Our founding fathers Ideology alive" was yours to keep. FISA is againest consitutiona dn still went behind your supporters back and teamed up With Bush and McCain. And we can see your Brown noise very clear. SHAME ON YOU

    July 11, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Kevin-Seattle

    Welcome to the 21st Century ladies and gents....I don't totally agree with the vote either but I do understand why they voted for it. I'm sure 4th Amendment when it was written could not have envisioned the world we live in today. If we put a President into office that we can trust to not abuse this privelege, we should be okay. You are not always going to agree with your leader, just trust that him or her are doing it in the best interest of the country.

    July 11, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. David in Chicago

    I'm a HUGE Obama supporter but this does confuse and upset me. It's frustrating. Along with the Democratic congress giving Bush MORE $$$ to continue the war.

    Obama 2008 (But not happy about FISA)

    July 11, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Bill

    Sure, things change, but what burns is that Obama is coldly walking away from what he "stood for" during the primaries, just like he walked away from Rev. Wright only a little while after defending him during his "Robert Kennedy" speech about race. Over time, eloquence starts to look an awful lot like slickness. He's going to be president, that's for sure, but I'm starting to wonder if he's going to be a one-term flip-flopping disaster.

    July 11, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. John E Lexington KY

    Obama blistered Hillary Clinton on such issues and won the aggressive support of MoveOn and other liberal groups. He's now taken Clinton's positions and others to the right of her. May I suggest that instead of a faux Hillary there is still time to nominate the real thing.

    I'll vote for him and hope he wins but Obama is an opportunistic piece of work, his skin color nothing to do with it. Reminds me of Nixon in ways that frighten me.

    July 11, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Gail, Louisiana

    I thini it is foolish for us to believe we do not need to embrace some kind of system that monitors those who have the way withall to do us harm. At some point both Reps & Dems must agree on that fact..

    July 11, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Jim

    As a old Paiute Indian friend once said-
    MMM- Best way to tell if politician is lieing- watch lips- they're moving"
    "They have spoken with forked tounges for years- if it looks like a skunk & smells like a Skunk it is most likely a skunk".

    July 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. William Drayton

    I can live with the revised bill; it's better than the old one.

    I'm more concerned about these gas prices and an endless, ill-advised war.

    Besides, our rights are all in our head anyway. Stop whining.

    July 11, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |

    As Senator Obama said " We will not always agree on everything" so with that being said I may not agree with him, but I do still support him and will be casting my vote for Senator Obama.

    Obama 08

    July 11, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I don't like the bill. I'm an Obama supporter, but I don't agree with his support for the bill. I realize he was between a rock and a hard place, but I think it is important to show him, or any other politician that even if we support them, we won't keep our mouths shut when we don't agree them.

    July 11, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Brian

    Well, I hope Obama stops changing his position and his mind about key issues like the intelligence bill he voted for today that he said previously he would oppose, his changed stance on withdrawing troops from Iraq, his decision to forego public financing which he also said he would not do, etc. For those who had never heard of Obama before December, but joined the bandwagon this spring, and are just *now* learning what Obama is really like, I have just two words: typical politican. And a third, because of all his denunciations of typical politicians: hypocrite.

    July 11, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Michael

    William Drayton, why don't you go tell all the dead soldiers in Arlington Cemetary that our rights are "all in our heads". They might liked to have known that before they died defending them...

    July 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. LynnB

    Obama is a fraud. How much of this mess do you want to put up people? Can't you see right through this sleezy snakey typical Chicago polititian – will say or do anything to get votes. No integrity at all – he threw his preacher and grandmother under the bus – what do you think he is going to do with us?

    July 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Danny

    This guy is dangerous for our country. President has to make bold & quick decisions. he has no idea what to do. This is in-experience. Vote Jophn McCain so that we can be safe and secure.

    July 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. luis


    Bob Indianapolis, IN July 11th, 2008 2:21 pm ET

    Once he is president, we can get a Democratic Congress to overturn this fascist piece of legislation…

    Dear Bob:
    Unfortunately you are ignorant and please understand a certain segment of the Democratic party led by John Kerry and Howard Dean decided that their ego's and need for power were greater than the needs of our country. These Democrats saw Obama as the perfect puppet from which to pull the strings and to give them power. They propped him up, altered the rules and he won the nomination. When you look back and realize he won almost every caucus, you realize his victory was hollow and not a true representation of the will of the people. Obama is going to need a miracle to pull this one and showing his true feelings so early in the game is putting this election in jeopardy. At least I got over it and stopped calling myself a democrat.

    July 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Joseph, Los Angeles

    When he becomes President, he will overturn this by executive order.

    July 11, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Slider

    I am laughing in the face of all of you Obama worshipers.

    In re: Sealed Case: a ruling of the FISA Court of Review in 2002 regarding the Executive's authority on such matters, and FISA's inability to impede with a statute on that which the Constitution has granted.

    Statutes cannot trump the Constitution. It has been affirmed time and time and time again.

    A "Nation of Whiners"? No. A Nation of Ignorants. As ignorant as Obama is, even he knows what inherent powers the Constitution gives the Executive.

    The question is: Why doesn't his silly supporters know that?

    July 11, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. K

    Concerned Teacher: I hope your not educating your students based on what Stephen Colbert says....

    July 11, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Sabrina

    Hillary voted the right way, she voted NO!!!!!!!McClinton08

    July 11, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Chris from NY

    Obama is smart enough to know what the bill contained before he voted for it. IWhen he didn't support the war in Iraq most people called him crazy. Today he is right about it. It could be possible he is right about this. Any one that has been following his campaign knows he doesn't make choices to please his followers. He makes his choices based on his personal conviction. All the people that voted for this bill voted for the war. So go figure.

    July 11, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. aa

    and there he goes again...Changed his mind...i wonder what is next...total flip flopper...DNC were so short sighted

    July 11, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Ken

    Hey James in Tx. So the telcoms acted in good faith to break the law because of a unlawful government directive, and that makes it OK?.....we're not use to hearing such prevarication concerning the "law" from the right. As you should know, this excuse has been used through the ages to justify bad behavior....the worn excuse that my boss, general, president, etc. told me to do it. Its appalling how little substantive defense is given to our civil liberties by the right wing in this country.

    I'm sure we can come up with some similar prevarications for the illegal immigrants in this country, to give them immunity. And how about the terrorists in Git-mo, I'm sure they were just following someone's directive too - by your cowardly logic, we should hold them blameless. Or are you just a partisan hypocrite?

    July 11, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. Abe

    All I have to say is that I am NOT a whiner.The price of gas is reaching the price of GOLD.

    July 11, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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