Obama to be tested on domestic spying views

November 19th, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Nov.19 (ANI): US President-elect Barack Obama is likely to be tested on decisions related to domestic spying.
When he takes office, Obama will inherit greater power in domestic spying power than any other new president in more than 30 years, but he may find himself in an awkward position as he weighs how to wield it.
According to the New York Times, a court has already ordered the government to turn over information on any federal eavesdropping conducted in the case of Ali al-Timimi, who was convicted of supporting terrorism.
The Justice Department will be asked to respond to motions in legal challenges to the National Security Agencys wiretapping program, and must decide whether to continue the tactics used by the Bush administration which has used broad claims of national security and state secrets to try to derail the challenges or instead agree to disclose publicly more information about how the program was run.
As a presidential candidate, he condemned the N.S.A. operation as illegal, and threatened to filibuster a bill that would grant the government expanded surveillance powers and provide immunity to phone companies that helped in the Bush administrations program of wiretapping without warrants.
But he switched positions and ultimately supported the measure in the Senate, angering liberal supporters who accused him of bowing to pressure from the right.
Obamas advisers appear divided over whether he should push forcefully to investigate the operations of the wiretapping program, which was run in secret from September 2001 until December 2005.
Some legal experts like San Francisco-based lawyer Jon B Eisenberg say that Obama is unlikely to embrace Vice-President Dick Cheneys theory of unfettered presidential power.
Other legal and political analysts suggest that Obama, as president, may be more willing to accept the broadened presidential powers that he once condemned as a candidate, particularly since Congress has approved expanded surveillance powers for the government.
Another early decision facing the administration will be whether to work with the Democratic-controlled Congress to investigate the Bush administration officials who approved and ran the wiretapping program.
While Congress gave the telecommunications companies legal immunity, it did not extend immunity to administration officials. (ANI)

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