Obama to Vote on Wiretaps; Critics Say He's Flip-Flopped on the Issue

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(WASHINGTON) Barack Obama is on Capitol Hill today, where he is expected to vote for the compromise bill that would overhaul the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). He has come under fire in recent weeks for supporting the bill, which exempts telecommunications companies from lawsuits stemming from wiretapping cases.

Obama had initially opposed retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies in the bill, however he decided to support it after a compromise version of the bill was created. Critics from the right and left have hammered him on blogs and in press releases accusing him of flip-flopping on the issue. At a press conference in Chicago last month, Obama defended his decision, saying that the bill has changed but security threats have not.

"My view on FISA has always been that the issue with phone companies per se is not one that overrides security interests of the American people," he said, adding that there should be more accountability when it comes to wiretaps.

Last week Obama addressed about the bill on his blog. "I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this," he wrote. However, Obama said the FISA compromise bill was better than the Protect America Act that he voted for last year.

He also told supporters that he understands their disagreement with his decision. "And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That's ok.," Obama wrote, "But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have."

After the FISA vote this afternoon, Obama heads to New York for a fund-raiser with Hillary Clinton.
  • Maria Gavrilovic

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