Obama: National Security Trumps Accountability for Telecoms

Turns out “Change You Can Believe In” is “Business As Usual You Can Bet On“:

At a presser today, Obama weighed in again on the FISA cave, and suffice it to say that what he said won’t make opponents any less unhappy about Obama’s position than they were already.

Asked specifically why he’s supporting the current FISA bill when he’d promised months ago to support a filibuster of an earlier version of the bill, Obama suggested flat out that “national security” overrides the question of telecom immunity…

Libby gave Obama the benefit of the doubt, but she’s over that now:

Considering all the political costs involved, I was willing to give Obama something of a pass on not leading the fight against the FISA capitulation but now he’s gone too far in promoting the false narrative to excuse this destruction of the rule of law.

“The bill has changed. So I don’t think the security threats have changed, I think the security threats are similar. My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people.”

What a steaming crock. This bill has not changed for the better and he specifically promised to support a filibuster. It’s beyond insulting that he seeks to justify his walk back on that promise by spewing the same fear mongering talking points the White House has used to justify every constitutional breach of the last seven years. …

Libby also points to commentary by John Cole, Avedon (and here), NTodd, and Ian Walsh at Firedoglake. Ian lists the 15 senators (the vertebrates, as Cernig called them), who voted against yesterday’s cloture vote (80 senators voted for cloture; Clinton, Obama, and McCain all declined to vote).

Ian adds an important caution:

… The Senate will now consider the motion to proceed with the bill, then they’ll head to the bill itself (corrected procedural details, h/t and thanks to CBolt). Various motions will be put forward to strip immunity, odds are they will fail. Then a number of the 80 who voted to restrict debate will vote against FISA so they can say they were against the bill. However this was the real vote, and the rest is almost certainly nothing but kabuki for the rubes.

“As for Obama,

Regular readers of FDL and EmptyWheel will know that this [Obama’s claim that “the bill has changed”] is security theater and that there is no reason to believe that gutting the 4th amendment will make Americans safer, even if Obama is willing to ignore his oath to uphold the Constitution. This is a sad day, especially for those of us who believed Obama when he said he would support a filibuster against retroactive immunity.

3 Responses to “Obama: National Security Trumps Accountability for Telecoms”

  1. Chief says:

    If Obama strongly opposed the FISA bill or even worked to strip out the telecom immunity do you think that would hurt or help his chances of winning in November?

  2. Kathy says:

    Neither. He’s going to win no matter what he does. Liberals and progressives have no one else to vote for. And McCain, imo, does not have a serious chance of defeating him.

  3. Chief says:

    I also feel that Senator Obama will win the General Election. But, Obama and the folks he has hired to help run his campaign, came from nowhere to snatch victory from the front runner and expected nominee. I figure they want to give the right wingers less ammo to fire at them and apparently this bill leaves the telecomms open to criminal prosecutions.

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