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Obama Defends His FISA Position

By Shailagh Murray
CHICAGO -- Sen. Barack Obama defended his support for a Senate bill that would rewrite intelligence laws and effectively grant immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

The Illinois senator's reversal on the issue has angered liberal groups, but Obama told reporters at a news conference this afternoon that he was satisfied with changes made to the original bill, including a provision that gives a secret court, rather than the White House, the final say on spying procedures. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also switched sides on the legislation, for the same reasons as Obama.

"It is a close call for me," Obama told reporters. But he said the addition of the "exclusivity" provision giving power to the secret court, along with a new inspector general role and other oversight additions, "met my basic concerns." He said the bill's target should not be the phone companies' culpability, but "can we get to the bottom of what's taking place, and do we have safeguards?"

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 25, 2008; 6:46 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama  
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