President Obama campaigned—adamantly—on either ceasing or significantly curtailing the warrantless wiretapping program initiated by President George W. Bush. That was then. Since the election, President Obama has been hell-bent on doing the exact opposite as quietly as possible. He did, after all, vote for the legislation as an Illinois senator. Instead of ceasing or cutting back, Obama wants a swift—and most importantly quiet—renewal of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that mostly legalized warrantless wiretapping in the US.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee approved the legislation’s re-authorization (.pdf; 90KB) last month, in secret naturally. But US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has placed a hold on the proposed legislation, blocking the Senate from taking a procedural consent vote on the matter, and forcing an open (that’d be non-secret) floor debate. Wyden cites the Obama administration’s refusal to reveal how often warrantless wiretapping is used as the impetus for his block.
Wyden single-handedly brought down the Protect-IP Act last year using the same hold maneuver.