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Huffington Post: Obama Backs Bill Giving Immunity To Telecoms

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/20/obama-backs-bi...

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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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. Here we go
Total bull shit.
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Catherina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. What's your take on it? n/t
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
26. I'm rarely disappointed because my expectations are so low.
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 05:01 PM by autorank
My take is that he's buying into the culture of fear argument that the terrorist threat created
by Bush-Cheney demands, first and foremost, a sacrifice of law and civil liberties. We have a
right to talk and communicate by email unsupervised, without spying. It's the law. But if you
are a Telco that broke that law, he'll look at some lame report that will pull punches and
do something about it down the road. That's not holding everyone to the law.

The support for this bill shows no support for citizen civil liberties. Why? It allows lawbreakers
to get away with it, easily, no problem. What about Quest, the board chairman who said NO and was
nailed by the feds for some stock deal? No mention of that. What about those millions who got
their phones tapped, will get their phones tapped? Nothing about them.

But here is the lithmus test: "Part II: Internet Thought Control Bill Under Attack" Link

He supported this then got a ration of emails. He seemed to back off. I wrote this Wednesday, 19
December 2007, 11:57 am. I think I'll ask the campaign where they stand on this piece of junk
(you're responsible for a terra act committed by someone who is "radicalized" when they read
your content on the internet - even if you don't know them, never communicate with them and oppose
violence).

What's your take?

PS. If there's an Obama mail bag address, could someone post it. I couldn't find where they
take input on his web site.
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Catherina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. ! I'm another one with very low expectations
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 05:15 PM by Catherina
but my low expectations have a line drawn right below them and I'll sink no lower. FISA is close to being a deal-breaker because I've already made other allowances, most of which I wouldn't dare discuss on this board. Your take on this is pretty much mine.

All that claptrap about Obama being supported by uninformed young people is about to be laid to rest because we have him by the balls and we're not letting go. I wasn't aware of the Internet Thought Control Bill. Good for you for making him back off.

Are these the Senate addresses you're looking for?


Washington D.C. Office
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2854
(202) 228-4260 fax
(202 228-1404 TDD
Email our office

Chicago Office
John C. Kluczynski Federal Office Building
230 South Dearborn St.
Suite 3900 (39th floor)
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 886-3506
(312) 886-3514 fax
Toll free: (866) 445-2520
(for IL residents only)

Springfield Office
607 East Adams Street
Springfield, Illinois 62701
(217) 492-5089
(217) 492-5099 fax

Marion Office
701 North Court Street
Marion, Illinois 62959
(618) 997-2402
(618) 997-2850 fax

Moline Office
1911 52nd Avenue
Moline, Illinois 61265
(309)736-1217

http://obama.senate.gov/contact/
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. But he doesn't "back" immunity
How can HuffPo write that headline with a straight face? Is that their headline?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. He is backing the bill
while hoping that the provision may be struck. But he's telling us he's going to vote for it one way or another.

The Dems in the House should have removed the provision. Now it's probably too late.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. You're right
The Headline is fuzzy sensationalism. Just clear enough to piss people off.
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. "HOPING"!?!?!? Come on people "HOPING"!??!?!
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Catherina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. It's incredibly lame. I hope you called his office. He needs to hear from us
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 04:57 PM by Catherina
I was very firm. Gave my name, amounts donated and told them to check my donation record. Then I let them have it and told them if Obama can't take a leadership stand on this issue, I plan to enjoy my summer instead of continuing to work for him.

The HOPE part is over. It's time to move on to CHANGE.
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. I think there is general confusion over the fact that this bill and the one it replaces
have an immunity provision for telecom companies - all they have to do is to demand that the White House certify it as a matter of National Security and then the telecoms cannot be sued.

The contentious issue is "retroactive immmunity" for companies that did not bother to comply with the certification requirements.

My understanding is that when the other telecom companies requested the appropriate certificate the White House refused and they then refused to comply with the request.
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. ...and the ones that "refused' their corp leaders were strung up on bogus tax charges and the compan
...companies weren't given "contracts"
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. THERE'S NO Public value for this bill, and very LITTLE probability that the "immunity" part can be..
...removed.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
15. That's their headline...
...that's why I prefaced my subject line with "Huffington Post."

I copied and pasted.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
29. How can HuffPo...? They read his statement carefully
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 05:10 PM by autorank
He starts out with the Orwellian assumption about how the Bush-Cheney created hatred of the US
requires creating more tools to fight it rather than addressing the real problem - we slaughter,
torture, and abuse Iraqis on a massive scale and they and others know about it and react, probably
much as we would, with outrage.

Here's the passage:

"It does, however, grant retroactive immunity,(Hes voting for it knowing that it grants immunity) and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.(I'll make an effort to remove the provision I vote for 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.I'll read some bull shit report and be upset)] By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act."(Hey, grassroots, go screw yourselves. You were all about having telcos face "consequences" but they are not. Get it yet ;))"

Well crafted but it presumes we can't read.

Let's all send him an email. He'll come around maybe, maybe not.
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IntravenousDemilo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. The overwhelming question is, who in government sought immunity for the phone companies, and why? nm
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. I think the question is that the companies failed to follow the appropriate steps to qualify
for immunity in the existing legislation and now want a special grant of "retroactive immunity".
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IntravenousDemilo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Well, somebody on the GOP side is adamant that the telecoms should have "retroactive immunity",...
...and I'd like to know why. I shall assume that there is some foul, underhanded reason for this, as is the case with all of their positions on, well, everything.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. It ain't just the GOP side, obviously.
Amendment I
Amendment II
Amendment III
Amendment IV
Amendment V
Amendment VI
Amendment VII
Amendment VIII
Amendment IX
Amendment X
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. I think it is simply the prospect of billions of dollars in legal fees and penalties
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IntravenousDemilo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Perhaps I suspect too much, but why would politicians be concerned about that...
...unless there were some conflict of interest that they're not telling us about, e.g. they own stock in various phone companies involved in the wiretapping?
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. I think the Democrat leadership feel that it gives the Republicans a national security
issue for the General Election "the Democrats aren't tough enough to handle national security, etc".

Also there is an element of tremendous political liability if there was another terrorist incident before the election and this law was not in place - they would paint it as directly a result of the Democrats failing to compromise on this issue.
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. Right, these companies have brigades of lawyers that know the law so the excuse of "Bush Said So"...
...doesn't fly for them.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. Funny, what Randi just read on the Radio does not match this statement.
So, now I'm confused. Randi just said Obama would back Dodd's legislation to remove telecoms immunity and this statement says nothing about Dodd's legislation. I'm really confused now.
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. We know he's going to "back" it but we ALL know technically it's a VERY VERY long shot that the....
..."immunity" part gets removed.

This thing LOOKS like a lose lose, I don't know WTF people are thinking
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
7. Let's just screw Obama via all of his orifices......the media can
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 04:43 PM by FrenchieCat
screw him in one, and we can go for the other.

after all, yes we can!
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. Look, We're married to Obama and KNOW he's not perfect that doesn't mean that we don't hold him ..
...responsible though.

He's not going to lose my vote and I'm holding out for a better explanation than the long shot one that he's given.

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ToeBot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #18
34. The honeymoon's hardly over and he's already proving to be a spouse abuser...
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 07:21 PM by ToeBot
I want an annulment.
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Catherina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
25. Frenchie, if we don't make our voices heard, whose voice will Obama hear? n/t
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. "There is no spoon"
Come on, Obama, you've shown some spine to McCain - now vote against this POS bill!
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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
17. I have not read the bill
Edited on Fri Jun-20-08 05:06 PM by rumpel
I would absolutely oppose a bill, that would give bush & Co retroactive immunity...is that in there, too?
I would give the telecom limited liablity if they all agree to testify without redactions...

on edit: I am thoroughly disgusted...

Thanks to Purveyor
Congress's compromise on warrantless wiretapping fails to curb the Bush administration's abuse of executive power

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

ugh!
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rateyes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
19. Have you forgotten Bush's "signing statements," Barack?
You still have my vote and support in November, but you're wrong on this one.
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uponit7771 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I'm thinking some sausage is getting made, He has to give back a favor for Pelosi. Like Keith O said
...there's no public citizen gain when this bill passes.
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
23. Next Friday Huffington post will be quoting Obama's bump numbers from Hillary joining Obama...
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Zodiak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
33. I wrote to him
"Yes we can" means that we need to be heard. Drop him a line. Let him know what is at stake and that we have heard "we will work for..." before with little results. Urge him to join Dodd and Feingold in a filibuster, if necessary, and most importantly, to vote AGAINST this bill if it has immunity in it.

He knows which side of the bread is buttered. He needs the internet, the bloggers, all of us. Make yourself heard above the leadership.

I wrote to Pelosi, too, but my tone was very different. :evilgrin:
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lala_rawraw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-20-08 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
35. serious character issue for me here...
he cannot back a bill that is patently illegal and violates the constitution in spirit and law. you cannot allow a crime to be committed against the public and tell the public that they have no right to justice.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-21-08 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Nuance is everything
The concept of "I agree with 8 out of 10 provisions in the bill and it's the best we are going to get" (or whatever the percentage may be) is thoroughly bogus.

Immunity for the telecoms is immunity for the telecoms. Just as putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact that it's a pig, voting for immunity for the telecoms is voting for immunity for the telecoms.

Unless I missed something.

I do not believe I did.

:patriot:
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