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Headline: Senate Expands Spy Powers

The Senate granted the White House a major victory this morning, by voting 68-29 to approve legislation that expands government surveillance powers. It grants legal protection to phone companies who allow government wiretapping without the requirement of warrants.

The vote, which some think threatens civil liberties, is hailed by Republicans as an essential measure to protect national security. Many liberal advocacy groups see the vote as another example of the Democrats’ fears of being seen as weak on terrorism. Debate surrounding the bill is a preview of controversy that will be increasingly relevant, including issues testing the president’s wartime authority such as secret detentions, torture, and Iraq war financing.

How did the presidential candidates vote? Senator John McCain voted in favor. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did not vote on the measure.

Are you in favor of giving the government broader freedom to gather information? Are you surprised Clinton and Obama didn't vote?


Join The Conversation
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
This makes me so furious. Many people think that as long as they aren't taking place in terrorist activities, they have nothing to worry about.... why would they listen to me? Well, after you take a look at this little bill that just passed in the house, imagine what that would've meant for our founding fathers. Or anyone else before us.
designergirl designergirl 9 years
Ha Bella! I was about to comment "Big Brother!" Wiretapping all Americans is an enormous waste of money. We have watched our civil liberties erode in recent years, how far is this going to go?I agree with other posters, show me evidence of this working and maybe I'll think it's ok.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Totally, Bella! Have you guys read 1984? The Big Brother rhetoric of the Bush Administration is just about a carbon copy. Small Government my butt!
KerryG KerryG 9 years
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin It makes me sick to think of how much we've lost. And for what? There always have been those who threaten the safety of the nation, and there always will be, but governments, once handed new powers, don't give them up again lightly.
remedios remedios 9 years
"It's as if this administration thinks the only alternative to socialism is fascism." Well said MarinerMandy. ALSW, the problem even if they give a success story is that it still doesn't justify the govt intrusion if it is unconstitutional, which I believe it is. If they do give a success story, even if some indirect, questionable relationship, it will only increase support. I'd rather not have that happen. But they never will anyway. They just want us to trust them. They know what's best for us, after all. Hey, but at least the Reps and Dems are working together. Bipartisan support to help destroy the Constitution!
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Nice Bella! Animal Farm is one of my favorites...and its true this kind of infringement of right is exactly the sort of thing that could be labeled Totalitarianism.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
i'm not going to say what i really think about this for fear that it is being surveilled by our nosy government.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Why on Earth wouldn't they release success stories? I'd rather have some proof that this is actually working rather than an amorphous belief that it's going well so we should continue it. How would releasing prior success stories hinder future investigations? I don't need every little detail, but if they could say that they've managed to thwart attacks from specific groups or individual terrorists, it would give it a lot more credibility from where I stand. Good point, Bella and JudeC!
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Paging George Orwell! He was just 24 years too early, it seems.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
In a case like this I think there has to be some transparency to avoid exactly what's going on here, which is the feeling that our civil liberties are being trampled on to little or no effect, which will lead to many of us voting for candidates who would oppose such measures in the future, which would lead to the eventual end of these powers in the first place. They don't have to give all the specifics, but it would be nice to at least get some idea that this sort of warrantless wiretapping and etc. have led to concrete results. It has, after all, already been made public that the government is engaging in warrantless wiretapping, so it's not as if that tactic is top-secret and needs to be hidden from whatever enemies are out there. So if it's worked in the past, I think we do have a right to expect to know that.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
"Give me some sucess stories. Give me some legitimate reasons." ALSW, I understand why people get upset over subjects like this, but why on earth would the government release success stories? I would think that would hinder future and current investigations.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
McCarthy's a good point to bring up here, Mandy. Definitely shades of that in this. I just feel that there's this fear out there (of terrorism, of terrorists) and that it's being pushed and perpetuated and warped to suit a purpose and so that people will agree. (Not sure I explained that very well...)
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
This is what happens when unscrupulous governments manipulate public fear to give themselves more and more power. Thank God for democracy and term limits.
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
Thanks, MarinerMandy. Good point.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
If the government is going over every single phone call, then the bright side is that it may generate new jobs (I had to find something good about this!). ALSW you're right about things like that happening! This War on Terror is sooo similar to the War on Communism and McCarthyism took down so many innocent people. We all know what they say about history repeating itself...
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
The expanded powers are too broad with little to no oversight, to me that's a dangerous combination.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"It's as if this administration thinks the only alternative to socialism is fascism." FANTASTIC point!!!
Jillness Jillness 9 years
The thing about wire tapping is this: they can get a warrant up to 3 days AFTER they do the tapping. They did not need to impose wire tapping on all Americans to go after a few. Plus, I think that the amount of useless information that is being gathered will only clutter the system and keep them further away from the biggest threats. And they are tapping ALL Americans. On Keith Oberman they had a man that worked for AT&T who confirmed that they are duplicating every single phone call for the government. Every. Single. Call. Talk about a waste of resources to go over all of those innocent calls!
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Couldnt have said it better myself MarinerMandy, this could potentially pose a great danger to those who are actually innocent. We have enough money invested in our Central Intelligence that there is no reason to over stepped such freedom boundaries and infringe upon civil liberties.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Exactly, MarinerMandy. And what happens once we start down that slippery slope? Or what happens if you're accidentally mistaken for a terrorist and they take into your phones? I'm sure stranger things have happened... JudeC - Exactly. Give me some sucess stories. Give me some legitimate reasons.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
This makes me sick. It's as if this administration thinks the only alternative to socialism is fascism. There is a reason we have protections like warrants in place. To everyone who thinks this is great idea, just realize that once you lose rights it is very difficult to get them back.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
ALSW--that's a good question. Considering the public outcry about measures such as these, you'd think that if there had been any success stories at all, the administration would have trumpeted them to high heaven to justify their actions.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I gotta agree with JudeC here - What happened to issuing warrants for wiretapping? Is it really going to stem terrorism or stop potential attacks by bypassing warrants? I'd love to know exactly why they passed this measure. Past success? Are they truly catching terrorists by tapping into the phone lines? I just can't see that...
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Yes, I am in favor. And no, I am not surprised if Hilary didnt vote.
philipn philipn 9 years
This is incorrect: Senator Obama voted against the controversial addition -- telco immunity. See the vote on the Dodd amendment.
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