Friday, December 12, 2008
The “Change” of Intelligence: FISA
Barack Obama has promised change to the American people, but when it comes to matters of National Security, how much change will we really see? One huge issue is that of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Towards the beginning of the campaign, Obama was an opponent to FISA, claiming it infringed on the civil liberties of American citizens. So mid-way through the campaign his stance on FISA would have strongly impacted United States intelligence and potential security. At the time, his position reflected that of the liberal fringe and he was applauded by many of his supporters. He claimed the US had the ability to track down terrorists without violating the law of rights and liberties.
Although FISA does invade the privacy of American nationals, what would be the implications for national security? Opposing FISA would strongly affect America’s abilities to track terrorists on American soil and abroad. Later, Obama did realize that opposing the Act would limit intelligence gathering methods and endangering human lives. That being said, as of June 2008, Obama reversed his decision and voted for FISA even though the amendments he supported were voted down.
Many will be opposed to his “giving in” to previous policies. And although it invades the privacy of American citizens and foreign nationals, accepting the Act commits stronger values in supporting the security of the United States. Obama believes the bill is for the greater good but has pledged to carefully monitor the program. But will the public be accepting of this or resent him for not standing a firmer ground?....only time will tell.