As the Senate votes today on the update of the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the law that allows the government to wiretap individuals in the United States, some Barack Obama supporters are upset at his support of the bill.
The FISA bill contains a provision granting immunity to telecom companies that cooperated with the National Security Agency's domestic wiretap program. Until recently, Obama had adamantly opposed that provision, but he now says he supports the bill, even though he calls it "far from perfect."
One of the most vocal criticisms of Obama's reversal on the issue comes from a group on the candidate's own social networking site, my.barackobama.com. The group's Web page exhorts, "Senator Obama — Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity — Get FISA Right."
Mike Stark, a law student and political activist who is also a big supporter of Obama, is the force behind the site. He's resigned to losing on the FISA issue today and to Obama's vote to support it. "I think it would be really, really difficult for him to reverse course right now," Stark says. "I think he's trapped by the moment."
The message that Obama is sending to supporters on the FISA issue is, Stark says: "You can either accept me and my position on this, and accept the fact that you lost, or you can go support John McCain or Ron Paul, or one of those other guys, and get the same policy anyway."
Stark says that reasoning is basically why he's still supporting Obama, though he hopes his protests will encourage other people to revisit FISA after the presidential election.