Dear Friend,There is the key phrase, they did it without the required court orders, they broke the law. And Obama let such law-breaking go without even a slap on the wrist. Instead they rewarded Bush and the telecoms for illegal spying on Americans. But, they will obey the law THIS time. SURE they will.
Thank you for contacting us and sharing your strong feelings about this important issue. Please find a statement from Senator Obama below.
We appreciate hearing from you.
Obama for America,
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."Cannot circumvent the law" - what complete bullshit. The Bushies ignore the law on a daily basis, why would they suddenly pay attention to this one, especially when they know if they break it they will get immunity for it? Because this time it's really, REALLY illegal?
After months of negotiation, the House 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 voted in the Senate three times to remove this provision so that we could seek full accountability for past offenses. Unfortunately, these attempts were unsuccessful. 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.And the Inspector General works for who??? Remember Attorney General Mukasey refusing to enforce the subpoenas and contempt charges against those who refused to show up when summoned by Congress? Karl Rove just did that yesterday. The Inspector General will just look the other way and not even fill out any reports. The IG is supposed to keep track of the good and bad the various Federal Attorneys but they haven't bothered to file that report yet. Hell, they keep breaking the law and getting away with it, each time more outrageous than the last, why would they stop now? YOU, Mr. Obama, aren't going to hold any of them accountable, you are going to capitulate and call it compromise.
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.I shudder to think how casually you will treat the Constitution and the law when you ARE president, based on your current record. Oh, I get it!! You know it's too late to go after Bush so you want all these special powers in the executive branch for YOURSELF!! It's all so clear now! And we can "trust" you to NOT obey the law because you're a much better person than George Bush ever was, right? You don't need to obey any silly laws that ordinary mortals do. You can be trusted - right?
It should be noted that Hillary voted against this bill, but she had to know such a vote would not make any difference because the bill was going to pass no matter what she did, so I'm not sure she should get any credit for it. And if someone wants to give her credit, so what? What good does that do now? She isn't going to steal the nomination although I bet she's thinking about it. "I wonder if I can push him in front of a car," she thinks. "No, it won't work, too many people around all the time. Could I make it look like an accident? Better not to risk it, must keep thinking."