Obama has given his support to a bill that will, in Glenn Greenwald's words, legalize "many of the warrantless eavesdropping activities George Bush secretly and illegally ordered in 2001." Here is the way he justifies his decision:
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. . . .First of all, what if you are not elected President? You just supported a bill that you basically admit has problems that could affect the liberty of the American people. How will you feel in January if John McCain gets that power? You shouldn't support legislation that has as a contingency the need for the "right" people enforcing said legislation.
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. . . 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.
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.
Secondly, I thought I had a Constitution to protect my liberties, not your work ethic.
My very limited support for Obama was largely based on his rhetoric that he would get us out of Iraq. Now I'm thinking that if he is elected President we will get a statement from him next January which begins thusly,
Given the grave threats that we face, our military must continue to be deployed ... blah blah blah.Whatever!