Obama Opposes CISPA, But Will Sign It Anyway
President Barack Obama simply “can’t wait” to bypass Congress and use executive privilege to advance his political agenda, but even though his administration has expressed its opposition to the draconian CISPA bill, don’t hold your breath for a veto.
Earlier this week the New York Times reported on how Obama had personally invented the slogan “We Can’t Wait” to characterize his intention to “aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism.”
However, Obama ‘s penchant for defying Congress seems to lose its steam when there’s a bill to be passed that will strip Americans of what’s left of their fourth amendment rights.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) orders ISPs to share Internet data of users with government “notwithstanding any other provision of law.”
The bill “gives companies a free pass to monitor and collect communications and share that data with the government and other companies, so long as they do so for ‘cybersecurity purposes,’” the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has noted. “Just invoking ‘cybersecurity threats’ is enough to grant companies immunity from nearly all civil and criminal liability, effectively creating an exemption from all existing law.”
Yesterday senior State Department official Alec Ross publicly announced that the Obama administration opposed CISPA, but refused to entertain the notion of the bill being vetoed.
“The Obama administration opposes Cispa,” he told the Guardian. “The president has called for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. There is absolutely a need for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation.
“[But] part of what has been communicated to congressional committees is that we want legislation to come with necessary protections for individuals.”
Ross’ words carry absolutely no meaning whatsoever. History tells us that Obama’s opposition to CISPA is nothing more than political grandstanding and that he will sign the bill without haste once it lands on his desk.
Cast your minds back to the National Defense Authorization Act and specifically the provision that allows indefinite detention of Americans without trial.
At every step throughout the process, the Obama administration threatened to veto the bill unless the ‘kidnapping’ provisions were removed from the text, lulling civil libertarians on the left into a false sense of security. However, Obama signed the legislation into law on New Year’s Eve when Americans were out partying, a sneak attack that caught everyone by surprise.
Despite a toothless signing statement in which Obama promised not to use the ‘indefinite detention’ provision against American citizens, it subsequently emerged that it was the administration itself which specifically demanded the provision be applied to American citizens.
According to its co-author Rep. Mike Rogers, CISPA already has enough votes to pass the House on Friday and despite an onslaught of new amendments, some of which actually make the bill worse for privacy, will head to the Senate for approval before awaiting the President’s signature.
Given what we learned from Obama’s NDAA bait -and-switch, the President probably “can’t wait” to sign CISPA into law, formally empowering the federal government to use the Internet as one giant world wide wiretap in the name of cybersecurity.