Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Glenn Greenwald's Answer to "A Few Weeks"

I asked below if Obama will change his mind in a few weeks on invoking the state secrecy privilege vis-a-vis Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen. Glenn Greenwald says today, more or less, are you kidding me? To quote:

What makes Ambinder's uncritical, mindless, one-sided recitation
particularly galling is that the excuses he is passing on for the Obama DOJ's
behavior are so patently frivolous. Let's just consider each of them in
1. The Obama DOJ, and Eric Holder specifically, had insufficient time to review the issues here and therefore embraced the pending Bush position as a "holding pattern."

I'd be willing to bet that 90% of non-lawyers know what parties do in
situations when there is a court deadline approaching and, for whatever reasons,
they need more time. The Obama administration has certainly shown in
the past that they know what to do:

"President Obama’s Justice Department is asking a federal judge
for at least two more weeks
to answer the thorny question of who is and
who isn’t an 'enemy combatant.'

In a filing in federal court in Washington Wednesday, government lawyers asking for the delay cited Obama’s inauguration last week and the executive order he signed ordering a review of the cases of the roughly 245 war-on-terror detainees presently held at Guantanamo Bay. . . .

'The Government is now assessing how it will proceed in the above-captioned Guantanamo Bay detainee habeas corpus cases, in light of the change in Administrations and the requirements of the Executive Order,' Justice Department lawyers wrote in their new motion. 'Time is needed to make that assessment and determination. Accordingly, the Government requests a two-week extension…to allow the new Administration to assess the Government’s position in this matter.'

Or this:

"In his one of his first acts in office yesterday, President Barack Obama instructed prosecutors to seek 120-day delays in all cases now before U.S. military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba while his administration evaluates the situation."

If, as Obama's Atlantic spokesman claims, this were really the problem
-- that the Obama DOJ needed more time to review what they wanted to do --
then the solution is easy and obvious: you ask the court for more
time. You don't march into court and explicitly advocate a Bush weapon
that you've spent the last several years excoriating as a dangerous abuse of
power -- thus risking that this tyrannical weapon becomes judicially approved
and torture victims forever denied the right to a day in court.

Greenwald goes through the litany of other reasons why the use of state secrecy privilege is unnecessary here, but this I thought was most important - calling out the Obama administration on their bullshit. "Pledges" to "ask for secrecy 'only in legally appropriate situations'" are worthless, as are statements by DoJ spokespeople.

A little scary no?

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