In view of Thursday’s revelation that the Obama Administration obtained a subpoena for the wholesale acquisition of every single phone call made by every American on the Verizon network, it’s enlightening to see the staunch civil libertarian stance Obama took as a Senator in 2005 when George W. Bush occupied the Oval Office.
Vote to invoke cloture on a conference report that extends the authority of the FBI to conduct “roving wiretaps” and access business records. Voting YES would recommend, in effect, that the PATRIOT Act be extended through December 31, 2009, and would makes the provisions of the PATRIOT Act permanent. Voting NO would extend debate further, which would have the effect of NOT extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision.
In 2005, Obama voted “No” to extending the wiretap provisions of the Patriot Act. This was months after a series of articles in the New York Times which brought the warrantless wiretaps to light. At the time, the Bush Administration had used the provisions for data mining of calls made to countries such as Pakistan and Yemen.
In 2011, President Obama signed a bill that reauthorized key elements of the Patriot Act.