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Huffington Post: Obama Backs Bill Giving Immunity To Telecoms [View All]

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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:34 PM
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Huffington Post: Obama Backs Bill Giving Immunity To Telecoms
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Obama Backs Bill Giving Immunity To Telecoms

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign released a statement Friday afternoon saying that while Obama opposes amnesty for telecom firms that spied on Americans, he will support the House compromise legislation.

The statement in full:

"Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

"That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

"After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."

Also today, in an interview with Bloomberg's Al Hunt, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would attempt to remove the amnesty provision in the bill:

Reid said the Senate may try to remove a provision from the bill that shields telephone companies from privacy lawsuits. Holding a separate vote on that issue next week may provide political cover for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Even though the attempt may fail, Reid said the vote would allow those opposed to the liability protection to "express their views."

"I'm going to try real hard to have a separate vote on immunity," Reid said in an interview to be aired this weekend on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt."

"Probably we can't take that out of the bill, but I'm going to try."

McJoan at Daily Kos writes, "That effort should be helped by Obama's opposition to the provision. His support of the remainder of the bill is disappointing, but that would be in large part offset if he can help kill immunity."
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  -Huffington Post: Obama Backs Bill Giving Immunity To Telecoms Amerigo Vespucci  Jun-20-08 04:34 PM   #0 
  - Here we go  autorank   Jun-20-08 04:38 PM   #1 
  - What's your take on it? n/t  Catherina   Jun-20-08 04:40 PM   #3 
     - I'm rarely disappointed because my expectations are so low.  autorank   Jun-20-08 05:00 PM   #26 
        - ! I'm another one with very low expectations  Catherina   Jun-20-08 05:14 PM   #32 
  - But he doesn't "back" immunity  blogslut   Jun-20-08 04:38 PM   #2 
  - He is backing the bill  pnwmom   Jun-20-08 04:42 PM   #5 
  - You're right  blogslut   Jun-20-08 04:45 PM   #12 
  - "HOPING"!?!?!? Come on people "HOPING"!??!?!  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:46 PM   #14 
     - It's incredibly lame. I hope you called his office. He needs to hear from us  Catherina   Jun-20-08 04:56 PM   #24 
  - I think there is general confusion over the fact that this bill and the one it replaces  grantcart   Jun-20-08 04:43 PM   #9 
  - ...and the ones that "refused' their corp leaders were strung up on bogus tax charges and the compan  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:45 PM   #13 
  - THERE'S NO Public value for this bill, and very LITTLE probability that the "immunity" part can be..  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:44 PM   #10 
  - That's their headline...  Amerigo Vespucci   Jun-20-08 04:47 PM   #15 
  - How can HuffPo...? They read his statement carefully  autorank   Jun-20-08 05:08 PM   #29 
  - The overwhelming question is, who in government sought immunity for the phone companies, and why? nm  IntravenousDemilo   Jun-20-08 04:40 PM   #4 
  - I think the question is that the companies failed to follow the appropriate steps to qualify  grantcart   Jun-20-08 04:45 PM   #11 
     - Well, somebody on the GOP side is adamant that the telecoms should have "retroactive immunity",...  IntravenousDemilo   Jun-20-08 04:50 PM   #20 
     - It ain't just the GOP side, obviously.  RUMMYisFROSTED   Jun-20-08 05:02 PM   #27 
     - I think it is simply the prospect of billions of dollars in legal fees and penalties  grantcart   Jun-20-08 05:03 PM   #28 
        - Perhaps I suspect too much, but why would politicians be concerned about that...  IntravenousDemilo   Jun-20-08 05:08 PM   #30 
           - I think the Democrat leadership feel that it gives the Republicans a national security  grantcart   Jun-20-08 05:12 PM   #31 
     - Right, these companies have brigades of lawyers that know the law so the excuse of "Bush Said So"...  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:51 PM   #21 
  - Funny, what Randi just read on the Radio does not match this statement.  fasttense   Jun-20-08 04:42 PM   #6 
  - We know he's going to "back" it but we ALL know technically it's a VERY VERY long shot that the....  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:48 PM   #16 
  - Let's just screw Obama via all of his orifices......the media can  FrenchieCat   Jun-20-08 04:43 PM   #7 
  - Look, We're married to Obama and KNOW he's not perfect that doesn't mean that we don't hold him ..  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:50 PM   #18 
  - The honeymoon's hardly over and he's already proving to be a spouse abuser...  ToeBot   Jun-20-08 07:21 PM   #34 
  - Frenchie, if we don't make our voices heard, whose voice will Obama hear? n/t  Catherina   Jun-20-08 04:59 PM   #25 
  - "There is no spoon"  derby378   Jun-20-08 04:43 PM   #8 
  - I have not read the bill  rumpel   Jun-20-08 04:48 PM   #17 
  - Have you forgotten Bush's "signing statements," Barack?  rateyes   Jun-20-08 04:50 PM   #19 
  - I'm thinking some sausage is getting made, He has to give back a favor for Pelosi. Like Keith O said  uponit7771   Jun-20-08 04:52 PM   #22 
  - Next Friday Huffington post will be quoting Obama's bump numbers from Hillary joining Obama...  Imagevision   Jun-20-08 04:52 PM   #23 
  - I wrote to him  Zodiak Ironfist   Jun-20-08 07:11 PM   #33 
  - serious character issue for me here...  lala_rawraw   Jun-20-08 11:17 PM   #35 
     - Nuance is everything  Amerigo Vespucci   Jun-21-08 02:16 PM   #36 

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