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Obama Administration Defends Warrantless Wiretapping

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the high-moral-ground-is-a-grassy-knoll dept.

Privacy 788

a whoabot writes "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Obama administration has stepped in to defend AT&T in the case over their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program started by Bush. The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.' The Electronic Frontier Foundation has described the action as an 'embrace' of the Bush policy." Update: 04/07 15:18 GMT by T : Glenn Greenwald of Salon has up an analysis of this move, including excerpts from the actual brief filed. Excerpt: "This brief and this case are exclusively the Obama DOJ's, and the ample time that elapsed — almost three full months — makes clear that it was fully considered by Obama officials."

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Change? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489665)

Yeah, the kind left in your pocket.

Re:Change? (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489845)

"Meet the new boss.....

....Same as the old boss...."

Re:Change? (4, Funny)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490075)

"Change"... is all you'll have left in your pocket or bank account once Obama is done.

Who wants a boss anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27490309)

That is why nerds support having no boss at all [metagovernment.org]

Re:Change? (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490085)

Yeah, the kind left in your pocket.

What, people are surprised? He telegraphed this months before the election when he reversed a campaign promise to support the FISA "compromise".

I can't wait for all the rationalizations by his supporters and deflections to how much worse GWB supposedly was.

Re:Change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27490195)

AHHHHHHHahahahahahahahaha.

All you Obama Fanboys just got Punked.

More than an embrace (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489685)

This is a full blown leg humping.

The Only Change You Can Believe In (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489687)

The little R next to the president's name indicating party changed to a D and some Wikipedia pages were updated.

Aside from that, business as usual I guess. No point in getting rid of all the cool toys the last guy left lying around, right?

On another note, have you begun your responsible phased withdrawal from Iraq [barackobama.com] you promised me when I voted for you, Mr. Obama?

Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 -- more than 7 years after the war began.

How's that going, by the way?

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489813)

This is just so much more ammo for the "Please don't vote for either R or D!" argument.

Choosing the lesser of two evils is not a good policy. "Throwing away" your vote on a third party is always decried as the best way to let the other guy in. No, no, no, you need to vote for whichever (R or D) is closer to your views or else all your doing is letting the other one, that you really hate, in.

Can we agree that their both evil yet?

Can we make 2012 a third party year? Please?

Signed by me, a cynical brit that would love to see actual change on either side of the atlantic.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489855)

Can we also agree that the internet is slowly ruining my grammar and spelling?

They're, their, there. All have their own meanings.

At least I'm so far immune to the loose/lose thing.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27490271)

At least I'm so far immune to the loose/lose thing.

Ha! It's "lose/loose"!

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489931)

I think that some people are just learning that the D's respect your privacy roughly as much as the R's. But, of course, when it's the R's doing it, the D's are very vocal about how they're violating people's rights and need to be run out on a rail. If this was a new policy and not a continuation of one from the previous administration, the R's would likely be waxing Libertarian and doing the same thing now.

I won't go so far as to welcome "the new boss - same as the old boss" because Obama is certainly markedly different from Bush on a wide swath of issues, but some things never change. Once a government claims a power, taking it back is very, very difficult.

Personally, I voted Barr/Root mainly because fiscal liberalism scares me and social liberalism just seems right (even though I wished that they had a better VP choice). Still, I'm holding my breath that having a charismatic president in office will have some positive repercussions domestically and internationally.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490127)

because Obama is certainly markedly different from Bush on a wide swath of issues, but some things never change

Yeah, like gun rights. "Markedly different" doesn't always mean better.....

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490003)

EXACTLY! Someone give this man a mod point. I'm pretty sure the 'they are both evil' thing is pushed by the Reps so that the Dems will vote for third parties and weaken their vote.

Option 1: You vote for a third party that truly represents you, they get 1% of the vote, the guys you hated win. Next year there is a repeat of the exact same thing maybe you gain a percent. Eventually with enough fighting you can win the party you wanted.

Option 2: You vote for the lesser evil. (Obama has done A LOT of good and reversed many of the horrible mistakes Bush made already, even in the first weeks). You get some things you wanted some things you didnt. The guy you hate does not come in power. Next year to be more competitive both sides push more to your side (clearly left in my case as i'm not from the us). So each year you get parties that are closer to what you wanted.

End result in 50years? Essentially the same thing. But with option 2 you spent 50 years with the lesser evil the whole time.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490015)

This last election I quit forever voting for the lesser evil. Your vote is wasted only if you vote for a candidate because the candidate can win, even if you don't really like him/her. While people may get some warm fuzzies by supporting a winner, it's sort of like picking the way you die: some ways are better than others but in the end, you're at the same spot.

Our problem is that two private organizations, the Democratic and Republican parties, have hijacked our government. They've created self-protecting rules for elections, as if the election system was made for them. And when it all comes down to the end, they aren't all that different except on the edges. Both want to spend us into oblivion. Both are warmongers (just google up some Clinton speeches from the time she helped Bush go to Iraq) or look at Obama's lack of progress on that front. Both are out to further their parties' interests with only a glance toward their constituents interests.

If people would quit drinking the "wasted vote" kool-aid, we'd have some hope. As it is, America is being destroyed by inches from the inside.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Interesting)

vsingh165 (1058102) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490027)

This is just so much more ammo for the "Please don't vote for either R or D!" argument.

Choosing the lesser of two evils is not a good policy. "Throwing away" your vote on a third party is always decried as the best way to let the other guy in. No, no, no, you need to vote for whichever (R or D) is closer to your views or else all your doing is letting the other one, that you really hate, in.

Can we agree that their both evil yet?

Can we make 2012 a third party year? Please?

Signed by me, a cynical brit that would love to see actual change on either side of the atlantic.

Can we please make 2012 a no party year? Candidates should be themselves rather than cloak themselves in stupid pointless ideologies.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

The Man (684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490039)

Don't blame me; I voted for Ron Paul.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490089)

Though I don't know much about Mr. Paul, I'll agree to that. When it comes to blame, I'll make sure not to point in your direction.

Have a cookie.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (2, Funny)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490231)

Good job, you voted for someone who wasn't running for president.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490063)

Can we make 2012 a third party year? Please?

Yeah!

Let's see, you have Democrats... Republicans... So you need...

Xenocrats! ... You just need a good looking alien. Female, if possible. No tentacles, unless you want to start with the japanese voter base.

If the tentacles are pasta-like, you could make it a Theocracy too.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490213)

Hold on, wait, I think I have an idea...

They're going to represent the real views of real people in society right? So lets call them societalists. Except that's a bit of a mouthful so we'll shorten it to "socialists". that'' work really well, right?

No? How about the People's Party?

No? Too communist?

This is tougher than I thought.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490197)

It's hard to argue that "the lesser of two evils" is bad policy when you're holding the greater of the two evils up as an example.

This story shouldn't shock anybody at all. Obama was open about this before the election. Many people, including myself, pointed out many times before the election that on issues of privacy Obama was the most Bush-like of the candidates in the last election. But he charmed the pants off everybody and convinced you all that McCain was Bush-2.

So now you can be surprised. And you can be surprised again in 10 years when you look back at how we used to have the best healthcare in the world until Obama flushed it down the toilet for a more European style system.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490297)

It's hard to argue that "the lesser of two evils" is bad policy when you're holding the greater of the two evils up as an example.

But surely at some point you have to concede that the lesser of two evils really isn't that much lesser, or that different, and that it doesn't really matter which evil gets in because when it comes down to it they are actually both evil?

So now you can be surprised. And you can be surprised again in 10 years when you look back at how we used to have the best healthcare in the world until Obama flushed it down the toilet for a more European style system.

You don't have the best health system in the world. You have a good health system in terms of quality, and a poor one in terms of coverage and costs. You know that you already pay more in taxes towards the state health provisions in the US than I do as a UK citizen? And that you don't get the benefit of that because you or your employer have to pay for insurance on top of that?

I also have top-up insurance, BTW, as an employer perk, but it's not quite the same thing. I only mention it to demonstrate that if you have money you can still buy your way to better accommodation, private rooms etc. in the UK.

Well anyway, that's up to you crazy Americans to decide upon, but don't be so quick to dismiss the models used by the rest of the civilised world.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489847)

The little R next to the president's name indicating party changed to a D and some Wikipedia pages were updated.

When it comes to wiretapping, the same status quo was maintained when Bush senior yielded the presidency to Clinton. In fact, Clinton expanded wiretapping for US economic gains, claiming it would "level the playing field." See James Bamford's Body of Secrets [amazon.com] .

Nearly all our presidents over the last few decades have pretty much been in agreement that violation of privacy is cool. The exception is Carter, who actually tried hard to limit the intercepts. And old-time NSA employees, military and civilian, despise him for it, because a lot of them get off on unhindered access to communications.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (4, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489929)

And old-time NSA employees, military and civilian, despise him for it, because a lot of them get off on unhindered access to communications.

No, for them, it makes their job easier. The issue, when boiled down, is the old "greater good" argument again.

Suppose they wiretap 1000 phones without a warrant. 999 of them are mistakes and nothing comes from it except the violation of citizen rights. (which is a huge thing, IMO) but that 1000th one yields a goldmine of terrorist activity that they would have missed had they been forced to wait for a warrant. Because of the wiretap being quickly put in place, they're able to stop a legitimate terrorist threat.

That's a good thing, right? But it's also a hugely BAD thing as well.

A damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. But to say it's because NSA folks get off on it is simply stupid.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490097)

Except.....

You can get the warrant retroactively through the FISA courts. If you happen to be polling, and run across something critical, you file the paperwork, BAM, warrant. If you happen to not, the data is purged.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (5, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490191)

Suppose they wiretap 1000 phones without a warrant. 999 of them are mistakes and nothing comes from it except the violation of citizen rights. (which is a huge thing, IMO) but that 1000th one yields a goldmine of terrorist activity that they would have missed had they been forced to wait for a warrant. Because of the wiretap being quickly put in place, they're able to stop a legitimate terrorist threat.

This happens frequently on TV shows, but has it ever really happened in real life? No.

The entire national security apparatus is a huge expense and a bigger curb to our freedom than anything an outside enemy has ever imposed on us. And what do we get in return? Bloated bureaucracies that have no clear mission. "Homeland Security" was created after 9/11 because the "Department of Defense" failed to defend us, as did the FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service, etc. So what's the solution? Another nebulous bureaucracy to drain taxpayer money and entangle us in more foreign wars, all the while bickering with the other agencies for prestige. It's a raw deal if you ask me.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490211)

It's not a damned if you damned if you don't situation. FISA allows for retroactive warrants, the problem with the Bush administration is they felt the ability to apply for the warrant after the fact was too much of a burden on them.

Apparently application process after the fact would prevent them from getting the information they needed right then and there. It was a bullshit excuse for abusing the rights of the people, the FISA standards as embarrassingly low as they are could have been fixed had he chosen to observe the rule of law.

Funny, how the rule of law is so important when it put him into power over the objections of the popular vote, but not so much when it contradicted whatever it is that he wanted to do.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490259)

No way. This is not about "national security" in the sense of busting terrorists and preventing catastrophic damage. It's about control, plain and simple. There are no credible threats. Is this [militantislammonitor.org] , busting some loser ice cream man after paying a shady informant a quarter-million bucks (commonplace even while many Americans are jobless and starving), the best that they can do?

Sweeping powers like rampant warrantless wiretapping will always be abused. Why care if you're not up to anything? Surely you won't mind if I follow you around and read over your shoulder, or even follow your wife into the restroom to make sure that she's not doing anything illegal. Huh. You'd think that we would be better than to allow state-sponsored voyeurism. But it's for your own good - the terrorists and pedophiles are out to get you!

Meet the new Boss! (0, Redundant)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490043)

... Same as the old Boss.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490071)

It's in the works [politifact.com] . Still plenty of time to meet a 16 month deadline.

Be up front with us ( I have too much karma) (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490119)

I know there are a few others here on Slashdot like myself who did not believe a word out of this guy's mouth during the campaign (and no I did not vote McCain)

You didn't really believe half the stuff he promised would come to pass did you? His own voting record (what little of it that is) and his writings (we actually got two) pointed to a direction not in line with his campaign. Throw in the fact he had basically zero experience people either were relying on the novelty of a black President or were so partisan that anyone not "R" was the only choice.

Look at his appointees, I would swear Hillary won. I was one of the deluded types who didn't really fret over Bush having such powers and holding such views because I knew the press would be merciless. I was worried about the next guy and apparently it will be fun to see if anything gets made of it, let alone the clowns in Congress who had a cow when he did this.

So did ya'll really buy into this shit or not?

It really blows my mind that so many act surprised.

News at 11, water is wet, fire is hot, and politicians only want power for themselves.

Re:The Only Change You Can Believe In (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490129)

What exactly did you expect? As long as half of this country believes the hickish thought that we need to torture foreign nationals and spy on our own citizens he's vulnerable should we actually get attacked.

He never promised an immediate withdrawal of combat troops, that would have been incredibly irresponsible, and he is in the process of drawing them down. Everybody except the more liberal Democrats realizes that it would be a horrible decision. We're in the war now, and we don't get to just leave immediately.

I think that it's somewhat odd that you're complaining like some sort of whiner that you're not winning by enough. He's shutting Guantanamo this year and is trying to bring the war in Iraq to an orderly close. I'm not sure what more you want.

And yes I'm disappointed by this decision I voted for him as well, but you're behaving like a spoiled brat that getting the ice cream cone is now complaining that it wasn't a waffle cone.

Too bad so sad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489697)

"The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.'"

Well thats what happens when you use unconstitutional and illegal methods to obtain those secrets. Tough shit!

I don't think it works that way :) (4, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489953)

The secrets would be the techniques and procedures used by our intelligence agencies.

Call me simple, but maybe we just need to let those 'secrets' go so the public's faith can be restored.

mikey moore? izzat u? (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490095)

talk about leaps of (il)logic...i think the secrets !2b disclosed weren't illegally _obtained_, they were illegally _used_;-}

and i don't think "defending at&t" == "Defends Warrantless Wiretapping" unless u make no distinction between actions & actors...

i think obama's inherited another mess from dubya, & like the financial mess i don't blame him (obama:-)

Re:Too bad so sad (1)

InsertCleverUsername (950130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490313)

"The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.'"

This is the only policy area where I'm disappointed in the Obama administration. I don't understand what the big deal is. We already know about Echelon [wikipedia.org] . I really doubt, short of a working version of SkyNet [wikipedia.org] , there are any secrets that we would find surprising --certainly nothing that would surprise the intelligence community. The "state secret" must just be the extent of the abuse.

Does this (5, Insightful)

PuckstopperGA (1204112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489703)

Does this remind anyone else of the argument that "when the president does it, it's not illegal"?

Nice to see that change came to town...

Re:Does this (4, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489857)

Preface: I didn't vote for Obama, and I didn't vote for Bush. I also have never voted for any other American president, party, or political idea. I'm not an American, and I don't live in the USA.

My point:

Well, honestly, we can give him the benefit of the doubt, in that state secrets might actually be revealed if the case continues.

However, this does not mean that Obama is not being a moron.

There's a reason courts have the ability to seal records. If something that truly needs to be kept secret comes out in the court case, the judge reviews it, then orders the records for that particular part of the case sealed. It doesn't go into court records, doesn't show up on websites later, and in general, stays between those who heard it in the courtroom, with the threat of contempt of court charges if anybody ever says anything about it.

So, Obama is either an idiot who doesn't realize the above is possible, or he's a corrupt jerk, little or no better than Bush.

Either way, he shouldn't be running your country.

Re:Does this (0, Flamebait)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490147)

Well for the companies; they did something illegal. buuuut the government told them to do it. So, they can't exactly sue them after. I think that qualifies as entrapment of some sort. Also I think Bush should be jailed over it. Obama may be being stupid about it but he wasn't the president when the crime was committed....

Re:Does this (2, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490247)

FTA: Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a lawyer for the customers, said Monday the filing was disappointing in light of the Obama presidential campaign's "unceasing criticism of Bush-era secrecy and promise for more transparency."

Well, Obama did criticise Bush's handling of terrorism, but he also said this [greenchange.org] : "Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the [warrantless wiretapping and telecom immunity], 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."

Apparently one of those "necessary steps" is to continue defending the program.

One word (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489711)

Unlawful. That is all that should matter, how disappointing.

Re:One word (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489817)

Unlawful...um who writes these laws again? oh that's right its the government why stand for something they put into place, its a law for the people not them..8 years and people thought it would go away just as we get some new people, I give it 2-3 years for they do anything they said they would.

Biggest disappointment thusfar (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489723)

I voted for him.

This is my biggest disappointment so far in his presidency. It's a signal that, for all the talk about transparency, it's talk.

I'm not saying that he's a failure as President, but I am saying that this issue marks the end of any honeymoon.

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489841)

I didn't vote for Obama. I voted Libertarian. If you want to end the corruption and game playing with business, you should too. "But why should I waste my vote?" Is it really a waste? Democrat/Republican parties are two sides of the same coin. Vote for them and you vote to continue the game. We have seen attempts at change from within, and each time they are silenced quickly. In Obama's case, I can't say whether or not he was sincere, but his promises and attitudes changed VERY quickly once he got into office.

This is more than disappointment. It's our death.

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489907)

I didn't vote for Obama. I voted Libertarian. If you want to end the corruption and game playing with business, you should too.

It doesn't make any sense to advise a person to vote Libertarian if their only concern is the corruption in the two mainstream parties and they don't actually agree with the Libertarian platform. But it's nice that you guys on the fringe right have a party to vote for. For me, a US citizen residing in the Nordic countries, I'd like to use my absentee vote to bring the US closer to the standard of living we have here, but there's no US party that falls in that portion of the political spectrum.

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490175)

But it's nice that you guys on the fringe right have a party to vote for.

What are you basing your "fringe right" assumption on? You don't have to be a member of the right to be a civil libertarian. In fact, those people are usually attributed to being members of the fringe left.

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (4, Informative)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490229)

So vote for a socialist candidate. If you're trying to get to New York from Philly, your best bet is to head north, not west.

Your libertarian comment is quite political in the truest sense, as it is the far right which has tried to paint itself as libertarian without actually being so, and the far left which has encouraged the misunderstanding to keep its own faithful. I fail to see how being anti-war, anti-empire, anti-drug war, pro-privacy, and pro-freedom are characteristics of the far right.

or maybe there's more 2 it... (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489893)

i'm willing to give him the b-o-t-doubt...i certainly haven't been briefed & know enough to have an informed opinion, but that's never hindered the /. crowd;-)

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489897)

You voted for "change", but neglected to seriously consider what he was really going to change.

As a Senator, Obama voted for retroactive immunity to the telcos [politico.com] . What made you think he wouldn't continue this policy?

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489905)

It's a signal that, for all the talk about transparency, it's talk

I'd say it's a signal that the elite at the top of the power pyramid work for the business of government, not for "the people" as they endlessly claim. At the end of the day, they're all in the same business, and they always will be.

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (2, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489911)

"This is my biggest disappointment so far in his presidency. It's a signal that, for all the talk about transparency, it's talk."

Why does this surprise you?

I mean, while on the campaign trail, he came back to the Senate, and reversed his earlier stated positions, and voted FOR the bill giving the telco's immunity.

You could have easily seen this coming before voting him for president. He didn't hide his change of opinion on this one.

At least he's consistently contradictory (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490019)

I voted "none of the above", and feel sorry for you. This is the exact opposite of what was expected, but it's been par for the course. Besides this, we also have his reversal on the ban on federal funding for stem cell research: one day he signed a bill overturning the ban, and two days later, he reinstated the ban in an omnibus spending bill. He definitely should have read and understood the latter before signing it. In addition is his complete 180 on earmark spending. During his campaign, and early in his election, he was adamantly opposed to earmarks. Then recently he came out in favor of them, and stated that he had always supported them.

Say one thing, do another. Just like Bush and the GOP. Were you really expecting any better from the Dems?

Re:Biggest disappointment thusfar (1)

merchant_x (165931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490193)

Hit Obama and the Democrats where they will feel it the most, the pocketbook. The dems and Obama benefited hugely from their grass roots campaign to get donations in. Their is another election in less than two years that they are going to need our money for again. Don't give it to them and encourage other people to with hold as well. Just make it clear why you aren't helping. When they put out the call for volunteers show up and discourage people from helping by pointing out the fact that they aren't delivering on their end of the bargain.

We need to stand together and send the dems a message that if they won't deliver on their promises, we won't help them anymore. They are answerable to all of us who worked to put them in office, it's our job to make sure they never forget that.

Anonymous Coward (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489761)

Dude. They have secret spy courts. They have secret spy courts. They have secret spy courts. Say it 3x and it's still true. The only reason to now want a wiretap OK'd through a secret spy court is because you might not get the warrant. And if you might not get the warrant, it might be illegal to do the tap. Duh.

Funny thing is... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490021)

that you went in as Anonymous Coward. Who says that you are anonymous?

What change? (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489773)

So much for all that change Obama kept talking about.

Call Your Senator NOW: +1, PatRIOTic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489775)

at 1-800-ALQ-AEDA [huffingtonpost.com] and demand an end to warrentless wiretapping.

Thank you for your help in spreading freedom and democracy worldwide.

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout

Don't blame me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489783)

I voted for Kucinich! In the primaries, that is. Didn't vote in the general election.

Re:Don't blame me (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490007)

"I voted for Kucinich! In the primaries"

You know, while I am pretty much completely against most everything Kuchinich is for, I must say, out of all the candidates, I think I may respect him the most.

I feel with him, at least you know 100% where he stands on what, and is clear about it. He doesn't say shit just to get elected, or pander to his current audience.

Unfortunately, with the typical 'drone' American citizen today, that can be led by the nose via TV, this means a person of this type, will never get elected.

don't act so surprised (1, Troll)

SendBot (29932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489803)

he voted in support of telco immunity before being president. I don't like it, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt insofar as this is a mess that the bush administration created, which would cause an even bigger mess in trying to forcibly reverse it without regard to consequence.

I'm not disappointed in having voted (and swaying votes, and registering voters) for him. Seriously, anyone here complaining things would be better living in the nation of Mccainistan (capitol city, Palingrad)?

Re:don't act so surprised (4, Insightful)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489899)

insofar as this is a mess that the bush administration created,

Is this going to be his excuse for his lack of leadership for the next 4 years? I mean really. At what point is he going to step up and say he's the President now and actually follow it up with action?

Re:don't act so surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489945)

Not likely, but the words "Not that different" ring pretty loudly here.

We've heard for almost two years how everything's going to be so "different" and how "change" will be brought forth... And we're already seeing signs that all these things that we were promised were just promises. It's starting to look like things aren't really all that different, and it's entirely possible that there was no real intention to change. I remain open to the idea that Pres. Obama will step in and say, "That's not cool. We need to fix this wiretapping issue." But until he does that, his administration speaks for him.

Of course, a massive failure of your comment was the fact that the only other choice was McCain/Palin. There were plenty of other candidates out there, but you didn't even bother considering them (like 90% of the rest of the voting population) in your retort. I had a feeling that we the people were being pandered to, and I can't stand the republican party anymore at all... So I voted for someone else.

Re:don't act so surprised (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490013)

I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt insofar as this is a mess that the bush administration created

If Obama wants to be an effective President, he will have to set aside that first envelope and take responsibility for his actions, rather than blaming it on his predecessors.

Otherwise, he will be opening that second envelope soon.

Three Envelopes [shabbir.com]

Re:don't act so surprised (2, Funny)

Scragglykat (1185337) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490047)

Yet he forcibly reversed Bush's policy on dealing with known terrorists in Guantonimo Bay and there is fear that that might have consequence as well. I guess if the US citizens are to be stripped of rights, we have to give rights to someone... might as well be terrorists. :)

surprised? (2, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489807)

I'm not. Who's going to willingly remove power from themselves once said power is already granted? Only an idealist or philosopher would do something like that..unfortunately no one fitting these descriptions is fit for the game of politics in this country..or any country holding a world power for that matter.

Change we can believe in? No we can't! (0)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489825)

And the litany of broken promises and Democrat capitulation continues...

And people wonder why we have the Republicrat [wikipedia.org] meme.

Re:Change we can believe in? No we can't! (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489939)

And people wonder why we have the Republicrat meme.

Because "Democan" sounds like a suitable name for a superhero's pet?

Re:Change we can believe in? No we can't! (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490311)

Demoplican is easier to say. At least for me.

Re:Change we can believe in? No we can't! (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490001)

Has anyone pointed out the irony of Obama's slogan "Change" yet?

I'm sure it would be funny and/or insightful if someone did.

"Obama breathes air. How's that CHANGE working out for you?"
"Obama televises a speech. Is that CHANGE you can believe in?"
"Obama speaks English. Old boss, same as the new boss."

One man's trash... (4, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489833)

Any concept can be used for both good and bad. IMHO, listening in on conversations to suspected terrorist contacts outside the US can be useful if the information sheds light on terrorist operations. Listening in on conversations that occur completely within our borders? That's tres KGB or Stasi. The radical left in this country has a paranoia about its own people. Ooo, a Ron Paul bumper sticker. They must be militia members! Better call the FBI. Newsflash: dissent is protected in this country and doesn't just apply to leftist speech.

Re:One man's trash... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489955)

IMHO, listening in on conversations to suspected terrorist contacts outside the US can be useful if the information sheds light on terrorist operations. Listening in on conversations that occur completely within our borders? That's tres KGB or Stasi.

The US has long ensured it can keep tabs on domestic communications by asking its partners among the UKUSA signals interception agreement countries to do the tapping for us.

The radical left in this country has a paranoia about its own people.

Nice troll. But just in case people don't know, attempts to get around wiretapping restrictions have been found in all past administrations since the NSA's inception, whether they be Republican or Democrat.

Re:One man's trash... (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490257)

True. And we spy on the UK for them.

IMHO, the left seems to be more overt about it. "Vast right-wing conspiracy"...um yeah...they're called voters.

Read Between The Lines (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489853)

The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.'

Never mind the, "Obama is just as bad as Bush," rant. What's the secret? Any guesses?

Re:Read Between The Lines (4, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490011)

Never mind

They also said disclosure of whether AT&T took part in the program would tell the nation's enemies "which channels of communication may or may not be secure."

I thought we pretty much knew this information. [wikipedia.org] I guess that's the case for most "classified" information, the public already has a pretty good idea about what it is.

Re:Read Between The Lines (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490023)

The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.'

Never mind the, "Obama is just as bad as Bush," rant. What's the secret? Any guesses?

They've been doing this and much more long before the 9/11 attacks.

The secret: (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490061)

Soylent Green is made of.. PEOPLE!

Re:Read Between The Lines (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490187)

There is no spoon.

Re:Read Between The Lines (1)

B1ackDragon (543470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490207)

My first guess is that the activity is worse than anyone actually knows about.

"Ok, yes, we still have a database of every non-spam/non-forward email (without attachments) that passed through AT&T's servers between 2002 and 2007. As well as meta-information on every call made. No, we don't want to get rid of it." (Hmm, perhaps that would have been infeasible back in 2002...?)

I'm not sure what else 'the secrets' could be, without donning my extra thick tinfoil hat.

An even bigger power-grab than Bush admin tried (4, Informative)

fotbr (855184) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489863)

Re:An even bigger power-grab than Bush admin tried (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489975)

Nevermind. This was apparently added to the summary after I'd posted it. If you read it there, no point in reading it here.

Excellent news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489885)

I used to be against wireless wiretapping. But if our Dear Leader says warrantless wiretapping is good then it is good.

You people criticizing this policy are obviously racist.

Re:Excellent news! (0)

berashith (222128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489981)

you forgot to mention that he was given this mess, he didnt make it.

This always happens (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489889)

Here in the UK Jack Straw used to make speeches about "ethical foreign policy"; he became foreign secretary and was eventually one of the biggest cheerleaders for our Iraq adventure. Every time someone who espouses those kinds of ideals actually gets in power they always seem to do a complete U-turn.

Are they all just liars? Are they being blackmailed? Or do they realise upon gaining power and seeing the whole sorry mess from the top that changing things would incriminate too many people and bring the whole system down?

Re:This always happens (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490107)

If this is the case, is the system worth saving?

Deciding to keep the corrupt system intact now that you are in power is the problem. These politicians only despise the system while they are locked out, and work to ensure its survival once they hold the keys. Unfortunately too many people are not able to see this and keep making excuses for the current administration. I am scared of the people with wool pulled over their eyes.

Disappointed, but not surprised... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489895)

Obama's voting record on this issue as a Senator is what disillusioned me during his campaign. Part of me wanted to hope that the vote in question was nothing more than ruthless pragmatism on his part, but this defense of the indefensible shows otherwise.

Just another power grab.

New boss same as the old boss (1)

pyster (670298) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489901)

Some people dont have a problem with this... they kinda annoy me.

The Biggest Marketing Campaign, ever (5, Insightful)

your_mother_sews_soc (528221) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489933)

Between the promise to not hire lobbyists, the parade of appointees who have had problems paying their taxes, the proposal floated to have soldiers provide their own insurance for battle injuries (since rescinded), and now this, I hope people start to realize they voted for Obama for the wrong reason. It was more of a vote against Bush and his party than anything. and it was also a fantastically executed marketing campaign. More money was spent on the Obama campaign than any other election. They tapped into what their target audience wanted, hired the best speech writers, and pulled it off.

No shit.... (0, Flamebait)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489937)

Well OF COURSE he is. Obama is a lying weasel who said what the stupid American people wanted to hear to get elected. Oh, I know they all do that, but he's the worst of the lying filthy scum bags. He's an idiot, he's incompetent, he's corrupt. The trifecta of a perfect politician. Having him as president in my country makes me want to weep, then die.

Par for the course (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489961)

I feel sorry for the people who voted for Obama (I voted "none of the above"). They're getting more of Bush when they wanted to "move on". This is the exact opposite of what they expected, but it's been par for the course. Besides this, we also have his reversal on the ban on federal funding for stem cell research: one day he signed a bill overturning the ban, and two days later, he reinstated the ban in an omnibus spending bill. He definitely should have read and understood the latter before signing it. In addition is his complete 180 on earmark spending. During his campaign, and early in his election, he was adamantly opposed to earmarks [youtube.com] . Then recently he came out in favor of them [youtube.com] , and stated that he had always supported them.

Say one thing, do another. Just like Bush and the GOP. Were you really expecting any better from the Dems?

Well, it would be hypocritical not to defend (1)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 5 years ago | (#27489977)

... after all, Obama voted FOR the FISA amendments last year -- DURING the campaign season. How could his administration do any other?

Don't Hate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27489997)

Going against the grain a little, I am starting to think... maybe... just maybe there really is something important that really SHOULDN'T be out in the open for good reasons. I don't know. Even greedy people are lazy. This just seems like a whole lot of work that would need a whole lot of motivation to keep going.

Or, Maybe not... however, I'd rather be objective about it at this point, rather than screaming for everyone to get off my lawn.

We reject as false (5, Informative)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490065)

"We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." --The American President (20.1.2009 [nytimes.com] )

Clearly, the President is choosing something over our ideals [wikipedia.org] . It's about time that he explained what he's choosing.

Seems in the spirit of the new DoD budget also (2, Insightful)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490087)

I find the increasing emphasis on surveillance technology to be worrying. Aerial reconnaisance technology developed for use in Afghanistan will eventually be used domestically in my opinion. Surveillance satellites are already used that way, with hardly any public outcry. It seems the American left that's in power cares about equality, but not so much about protecting against abuse of government power. And I don't think the philosophy has been very good for the rest of the world either. Unmanned reconnaissance followed by poorly informed airstrikes has been a big part of the reason people in Afghanistan dislike and don't cooperate with the US-led coalition.

Hopefully, the president is learning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27490101)

the profound difference between being an outside critic, responsible to no one; and being in charge, and responsible for the results of his actions.

Change? (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490105)

Change? Ha.

To me this may actually make sense (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490115)

There may actually be national security issues that would come up in any lawsuits involving warrentless wiretapping.

For example, we know that AT&T has or had equipment that is patched into their network and is doing analysis on it. If this thing gets to trial, people are going to start asking questions like "What traffic is passing through this equipment", "What traffic does this equipment examine" and "what is this equipment looking for". This information could potentially be of value to a terrorist.

Note that I do not support or endorse warrentless wiretapping in any way, I am just presenting the facts.

Fucking Called This (0)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490145)

I'd just like for it to be known that many people, myself, fucking called this. Remember when Obama caved on telecom immunity [slashdot.org] ? How did anybody think that he would put away the toys that Bush left out in the play room?

My letter to him when he voted for telecom immunity instead of growing a set:

Senator Obama:

Because of the miserable failure that George W Bush has been, I have been placing the candidates for this presidential election under strict scrutiny. Until yesterday, I was proud to tell my friends that I supported Barack Obama for President of the United States. Now, I fear that my interests and your interests are not aligned and I can no longer lend you my support.

Yesterday, while you did vote for the Dodd amendment, you failed to support a filibuster, and you failed to vote against the revised FISA bill that does for the telecom companies who have implemented surveillance against the American people what Gerald Ford did for Nixon.

Being President of the United States means sometimes taking an unpopular stance on an issue despite the outcry of the public. It sometimes means thinking in the long term instead of the short, 24-hour sound-bite news cycle. What you have done today is embolden the elements of the government that tapped Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and handed them a fresh set of excuses to listen to the phone calls and Internet traffic of the American people.

Maybe things work differently in Washington. Maybe the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the president have sworn to Representatives and Senators not to listen to their calls. Maybe the Republicans have sworn to the Democrats not to sabotage them like in the '70s during Watergate. Out in America, away from the halls of power, what protection does the citizen have against those who would gladly violate their expectation of privacy? Might I remind you that the president that suggested this bill also lied to start a war, approved the torture of innocent civilians, and believes himself to be above the law.

What you did today was sell The People down the river for political capital. I hope you are proud of yourself. I am not proud of you. You are no different than any other politician, using the politics of fear to get what you want. The only sort of Hope you offer is False Hope - the worst kind because by the time it is identified as such, it is too late.

A humble citizen,

MasterOfMagic (I put my actual name, but I'm not going to post it here)

Defending Obama (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27490185)

You know, as a Republican, I suppose I could take the cheap shot and say, "Hah, there you go, see, he's not really any different after all."

But...

Bashing Obama for doing something supposedly conservative is just silly. Conservatives bashing Obama for doing something conservative is even sillier still. If it was so right for Bush to wiretap, then, shouldn't conservatives be defending Obama at least on this issue? If it was so wrong for Bush to wiretap, well, conservatives, where were you for eight years?

The thing is, one could make the argument that Obama is defending Bush on warrantless wiretapping not necessarily because he plans on doing it himself, but because he wants to spare the USA the damage from some foreign policy implication of what Bush did.

If you look at his overall record, Obama is acting like the dyed in the wool hardcore liberal that he is. Come on, Obama has spent his last European trip apologizing for everything the USA has ever done - a typical liberal thing to do. Do you think Bush would ever apologize for American foreign policy? Don't think so.

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