April 16, 2009

Release the memos

Obama's must-pass test.

"Excessive reliance on 'secret law' threatens the effective functioning of American democracy." —Dawn Johnson, Obama's nominee to run the office of legal council, on George Bush's "practice of making and relying on secret law."

Notes Greenwald: "Given that she specifically pointed to concealment of OLC interrogation memos as a prime example of tyrannical secret laws, it is impossible to reconcile her arguments with any substantial redactions of these remaining memos."

Obama's civil liberties report card currently shows a C-minus average. If he wants to borrow the family car again, he needs to start earning better grades now.

These are not intelligence documents. There's nothing here to protect other than "methods" which don't deserve protection and the "morale" of the agents who may have followed inhumane and illegal orders, which is the kind of thing that should make a person feel bad about themselves and their job.

I don't have any confidence in Obama doing the right thing or his supporters holding him to account, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Update: It's Looking like Justice will release the memos while simultaneously promising not to prosecute people who were guided them. A clever political move, something for both sides, but is it closing the door on accountability or setting the stage for going after non-low-hanging fruit?

Update: Closing the door. But we're still a "nation of laws." Guess that means we'll be formally withdrawing from the Convention Against Torture, right?

Update: Greenwald thinks Bush officials could still be on the hook. I doubt it. But even so, this was irresistible.

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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