Posted by: iam0nly1 | July 10, 2008

Voice of a Leader: Senator Clinton on FISA

This is what a true Democratic Presidential Presumptive Nominee should sound like:

Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008

One of the great challenges before us as a nation is remaining steadfast in our fight against terrorism while preserving our commitment to the rule of law and individual liberty. As a senator from New York on September 11, I understand the importance of taking any and all necessary steps to protect our nation from those who would do us harm. I believe strongly that we must modernize our surveillance laws in order to provide intelligence professionals the tools needed to fight terrorism and make our country more secure. However, any surveillance program must contain safeguards to protect the rights of Americans against abuse, and to preserve clear lines of oversight and accountability over this administration. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues who negotiated this legislation, and I respect my colleagues who reached a different conclusion on today’s vote. I do so because this is a difficult issue. Nonetheless, I could not vote for the legislation in its current form.

The legislation would overhaul the law that governs the administration’s surveillance activities. Some of the legislation’s provisions place guidelines and restrictions on the operational details of the surveillance activities, others increase judicial and legislative oversight of those activities, and still others relate to immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the administration’s surveillance activities. 

While this legislation does strengthen oversight of the administration’s surveillance activities over previous drafts, in many respects, the oversight in the bill continues to come up short. For instance, while the bill nominally calls for increased oversight by the FISA Court, its ability to serve as a meaningful check on the President’s power is debatable. The clearest example of this is the limited power given to the FISA Court to review the government’s targeting and minimization procedures.

But the legislation has other significant shortcomings. The legislation makes no meaningful change to the immunity provisions. There is little disagreement that the legislation effectively grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies. In my judgment, immunity under these circumstances has the practical effect of shutting down a critical avenue for holding the administration accountable for its conduct. It is precisely why I have supported efforts in the Senate to strip the bill of these provisions, both today and during previous debates on this subject. Unfortunately, these efforts have been unsuccessful.

What is more, even as we considered this legislation, the administration refused to allow the overwhelming majority of Senators to examine the warrantless wiretapping program. This made it exceedingly difficult for those Senators who are not on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees to assess the need for the operational details of the legislation, and whether greater protections are necessary. The same can be said for an assessment of the telecom immunity provisions. On an issue of such tremendous importance to our citizens – and in particular to New Yorkers – all Senators should have been entitled to receive briefings that would have enabled them to make an informed decision about the merits of this legislation. I cannot support this legislation when we know neither the nature of the surveillance activities authorized nor the role played by telecommunications companies granted immunity.

Congress must vigorously check and balance the president even in the face of dangerous enemies and at a time of war. That is what sets us apart. And that is what is vital to ensuring that any tool designed to protect us is used – and used within the law – for that purpose and that purpose alone. I believe my responsibility requires that I vote against this compromise, and I will continue to pursue reforms that will improve our ability to collect intelligence in our efforts to combat terror and to oversee that authority in Congress.

These are the words Obama’s supporters are so eager and desperate to hear from him. It must be disheartening and disillusioning to hear them coming from the woman they rejected, slurred, and hated without reason. There’s still time to make Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton the leader of the Democratic Party and our Presidential Nominee. For all of Obama’s former supporters who are crawling from under the bus, there’s nothing like atonement.

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Responses

  1. God help us if Obama is elected! I would love it if Hillary could somehow be on the ticket as President of course. Barring that I am probably not going to vote.

  2. It’s absolutely ridiculous that they are spinning it that way. CDS is a media epidemic. These people really need to wake up and realize she’s just a normal person.

    It seems those suffering from CDS are the calculating ones, since they are always trying to calculate her motives.

    Geez! She didn’t like the bill, she articulated why and then she voted. How about they question BO since he was the one who promised to filibuster and then flipped.

  3. You know she only said that and voted the way she did to embarass Obama, right?
    At least, that’s the way it’s being spun.
    And they’re doing it with straight faces.


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