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Obama's Bogus New Excuse for Secrecy

The Obama Justice Department yesterday put forth an new legal argument, one that even the Bush team might not have had the gall to employ. Call it the Daily Show disclosure exclusion.

Yes, a Justice Department lawyer actually argued to a federal district court judge that there should be an exemption from Freedom of Information Act disclosure rules for documents that would subject senior administration officials to embarrassment -- as in on late-night television.

This is not just wrong, it's perversely wrong. By contrast, a good rule of thumb would be: The more embarrassing, the more we need to know. The Justice Department and the White House should be forced to renounce this assertion immediately.

And if this wasn't bizarre enough, consider the irony that in the case at hand, the Obama Justice Department is fighting the release of a transcript of former vice president Dick Cheney's testimony to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald about his role in the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.

And guess what else? The Obama team relied extensively on a legal opinion (via Emptywheel) authored by Stephen Bradbury, the utterly discredited head of the Office of Legal Counsel whose other writings included memos outrageously asserting that torture was legal -- and that Karl Rove had absolute immunity from congressional oversight.

In his memo, Bradbury described the information in question:

Portions of the withheld documents reflect or describe frank and candid deliberations involving, among others, the Vice President, the White House Chief of Staff, the National Security Adviser, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the White House Press Secretary. These deliberations concern, among other things, the preparation of the President's January 2003 State of the Union Address, possible responses to media inquiries about the accuracy of a statement in the President's address and the decision to send Ambassador Joseph Wilson on a fact-finding mission to Niger in 2002, the decision to declassify portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, and the assessment of the performance of senior White House staff.

OK, right this second, I can't think of a single document that I want -- or deserve to have -- more.

And yet, as R. Jeffrey Smith chronicled in The Washington Post this morning:

[C]areer civil division lawyer Jeffrey M. Smith, responding to Sullivan's questions, said Bradbury's arguments against the disclosure were supported by the department's current leadership. He told the judge that if Cheney's remarks were published, then a future vice president asked to provide candid information during a criminal probe might refuse to do so out of concern "that it's going to get on 'The Daily Show' " or somehow be used as a political weapon.

This is yet another example of Obama's lawyers blatantly violating the president's promise not to "protect information merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrassment to the government."

Shocked? You're not the only one. As Smith writes:

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan expressed surprise during a hearing here that the Justice Department, in asserting that Cheney's voluntary statements to U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald were exempt from disclosure, relied on legal claims put forward last October by a Bush administration political appointee, Stephen Bradbury....

Sullivan said Bradbury, who was the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, was not obviously qualified to make such claims and that they were in any event unsubstantiated. Sullivan said the department needed new evidence, if it hoped to prevail, and said the administration should supply him with a copy of Cheney's statements so he could directly assess whether the claims are credible.

This is not the first time the public has gotten this close to seeing Cheney's statements.

As I wrote in December 2007, it took an intervention by the White House to prevent Fitzgerald from turning it over to congressional investigators.

Then-House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman had gotten Fitzgerald, up until then reluctant to divulge any information about his investigation that hadn't come out in open court, to turn over documents that weren't protected by grand-jury secrecy rules. Fitzgerald explicitly acknowledged that "there were no 'agreements, conditions and understandings between the Office of Special Counselor the Federal Bureau of Investigation' and either the President or Vice President 'regarding the conduct and use of the interview or interviews.'"

After the White House intervened, Waxman subpoenaed the Justice Department for the information. He pointed out that what he was asking for was far from unprecedented: "During the Clinton Administration, your predecessor, Janet Reno, made an independent judgment and provided numerous FBI interview reports to the Committee, including reports of interviews with President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and three White House Chiefs of Staff." But then-attorney general Michael Mukasey backed up the White House, and refused to turn it over.

Why all this still matters is that it's long been clear that Fitzgerald was hot on Cheney's trail until he was obstructed by a pack of lies from former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. In the closing arguments of the trial at which Libby was found guilty, Fitzgerald declared: "There is a cloud over the vice president. . . . And that cloud remains because this defendant obstructed justice."

So while Fitzgerald couldn't prove a case against Cheney, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of evidence of wrongdoing in his case file. And Cheney's interview with Fitzgerald would, I am quite sure, be revelatory. For instance, Libby told the FBI in 2003 that Cheney might have ordered him to reveal Plame's identity to reporters. What did Cheney say to that?

Nedra Pickler writes for the Associated Press about how this latest case came to be:

In July 2008, the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department seeking records related to Cheney's interview in the investigation. The Justice Department declined to turn over the records, and CREW filed a lawsuit in August.

And Ben Conery writes in The Washington Times:

The judge's move came as the Obama administration continues to defend the legal positions of the Bush administration on the Plame affair.

In addition to fighting against the release of the interview notes, the Obama Justice Department is carrying on its predecessor's opposition to a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Plame and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, against several top Bush administration officials, including Mr. Cheney. The Justice Department recently asked the Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of the case, which has been dismissed by two lower courts.

By Dan Froomkin  |  June 19, 2009; 11:26 AM ET
 
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Comments

Re the Obama efforts to not disclose: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss....won't get fooled again"

Posted by: dcrand02 | June 19, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Disgraceful. But, by now, not surprising. It will take greater courage in the White House, or a change in public opinion, to bring about a full restoration of our civil liberties.

Posted by: rjoff | June 19, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I knew this would always be a problem with a greenhorn like Obama -- too unsure of himself, too reliant on the self-serving beltway establishment drones advising him.

Of course, I didn't think Hillary would be any better, given the Clintons' history of ingratiating themselves to the very same interests, bending too far for the right-wing shriekers.

Basically I think I've given up on democracy is what I'm saying.

Posted by: alphahelix | June 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Lawyers are an interesting breed. They will lie through their teeth and twist logic around, and still tell you with a straight face that they are acting ethically.

Obama needs to realize that HE has to rein in these abuses because nobody else will. Unfortunately, he is a lawyer so perhaps he is blind to the absurdity of these arguments.

I hope the Daily Show starts every show for the next year with this revelation that the government is now keeping secrets to prevent being embarrassed by a stand-up comedian.

Posted by: fletc3her | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The OmBlog really hit the nail on the head. Froomkin just doesn't have the guts to hold the current White House's feet to the fire. What a partisan hack...wait, this is actually respectable journalism? This is the traditional role of the reporter? Wow, I guess it's just been that long, we don't even know how to recognize it in mainstream media coverage. Well, at least I won't have to grace the pages of the Washington Post for much longer.

Posted by: mjtimber | June 19, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Froomkin

The Washington Post's loss is your gain. If indeed they just fired you, set up a blog and get rich on the advertising. I personally would advertise on your site (not sure exactly what I'm selling but I would advertise).

Not so great no longer being a colleague of Ezra Klein, Walter Pincus, Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, Dana Priest and Harold Meyerson, but no longer having anything to do with the rest of that crowd ought to make up for it (note Dana Milbank recently tossed in with rest of crowd).

Posted by: rjw88 | June 19, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

On Civil Liberties, Transparency and the Rule of Law, can anyone explain how Obama's Admin is any different than Bush's? In some instances it appears as they are more extreme. Truly disgusting and sad for our Republic.

Posted by: danielburns | June 19, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It is baffling what they are trying to do. Are they trying to be nice to Cheney so that he shuts up? I don't think that's going to happen.

Obama is not getting the best advise on financial side from Geitner and Sumner. We can only hope same thing is not happening on the legal side.

Posted by: SeedofChange | June 19, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

It might have been explained at the time, but what did Libby mean when he said that Cheney “might have ordered him to reveal Plame's identity to reporters.”? Didn’t he know? Or was this another one of his claims to have a bad memory?

Posted by: hgillette | June 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@alphahelix: "Basically I think I've given up on democracy is what I'm saying."

I feel the same way a lot of the time lately, but hang in there. FDR said, "I agree with you. I want to do it. Now make me do it." I have faith that eventually the left will get their sh*t together and start applying meaningful pressure to Obama's lying ass.

I keep this faith mainly by ignoring the past.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | June 19, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Let's see - incredible deficit spending that boggles the mind, socialistic policies, and now a secrecy doctrine that would make an outright Facist jealous.

All of you who voted for President Obama - thanks. If you wake up now, we can stop this train from running over us all.

Posted by: JHG_sec405 | June 19, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh's Lemmings wail that Obama is worse than Bush which is simply not possible.

He's turning out to be not that much better, though, and is definitely not the change we voted for.

Democrats need to begin looking for another Presidential candidate in 2012. Another fighter like Obama who won't roll over (like the weakling democrats of the past) to the endless critical, negative and bitter droning of hate radio, RNC Fox News and yet another round of Rove's racist and religiously bigoted "wedge issue" Southern politics.

We need to prepare for someone who can defeat the Republicans' cast of cartoon characters like Bishop Romney, the adulterers Gringrinch, Vitter and Ensign;
or the intolerant theocratic O'Reilly Catholics and ignorant evangelicals like Her Holiness, the Annie Oakley of the North.

Obama's toast and has already squandered any hope for change and decency in this Country and opportunities for other minorities to be in the White House in the future.

Do we want a redux of Cheney/Bush with Palin/Gringrinch in 2012?

Who will really lead for a change?

Posted by: coloradodog | June 19, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Dan:

Was it because of Dr. Charles 'Where is Our President?' Krauthammer complaining that if Froomkin was not neo-con enough for him, you were not neo-con enough for the War Po?

Or was it because they need more time for Paul 'Slick My Hair Back with My Spit on a Comb' Wolfowitz to tell us that it's 'Time for Obama to Change Course'?

Or was it because they had to clear you as a line item in the budget so they could bring in Glenn Beck for a Q and A last week?

Or was it because, maybe, just maybe, you were a remaining vestige of the reminder to the Washington Post Editorial Board that it failed its readers and the country by letting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have their way with the Washington Post Editorial Board?

Or was it because David Broder couldn't find his way to the coffee pot in the morning and accused you of making it not hot?

Or was it because George Will couldn't stop taking his temperature every day to disprove global warming and evolution and blamed you for exposing his non-baseball expertise?


Or was it just another boneheaded move by what used to be a great newspaper but now is a just the poor man's edition of The Wall Street Journal?

Maybe it was it all of the above.

You'll land on your feet. The excellent investigative reporters at the Washington Post will land on their feet. The suits in charge, who cares?

Posted by: Patriot3 | June 19, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

After reading today's comments, and as a fomer student of Mr. Froomkin's brother at UM Law, I would be derelict not to ask a question I have been begging the answer to for years. First, from the left, now from the right, I hear non-stop complaining about an attack on our "civil liberties" by the Bush (and now Obama) administrations. But, I have yet to hear anybody articulate what "liberties" they, as an individual, had on Jan. 19, 2001 that they do not have today.

By the way, transparent governance in the Executive Branch is not a civil liberty even implied in the Constitution, but arose from Nixon-era events prompting Congress to grant limited power to know the activities of their government (FOIA, FACA, and the Gov't in the Sunshine Act). All of these statutes have numerous exemptions and limitations open to various interpretations.

Posted by: hsroth1 | June 19, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@JHG_sec405: "If you wake up now, we can stop this train from running over us all."

Drama queen. Obama's spending isn't much higher than Bush's was. You just know about it now because it's not kept secret. And deficit spending is the prescription for flattening a recession. That this is even debatable in light of clear historical evidence is a testament to the effectiveness of the right's noise machine and concern trolling.

Socialist policies - not worth responding to.

Secrecy doctrine - alarming indeed. I trust you're also upset about warrantless wiretapping, right? And all the secret signing statements that Bush used to unilaterally modify passed legislation?

Posted by: BigTunaTim | June 19, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Can someone stop Froomkin from writing this stuff? He made Bush look terrible and now he is doing the same for Obama - is he working for North Korea? That's it! He is! Think about it people: DAN FROOMKIN is an anagram for KIM RO FONDA the notorious North Korean neocon...

But I digress, I certainly don't come to the WaPo to be made to think. Please get rid of Froomkin (or at least buy him a drink to calm him down) and replace him with someone who understands that critical, questioning journalism can be upsetting and rude and is therefore best left to important people who have anonymous sources in government. That way we can dispense with Froomkin's tiresome interests in facts and evidence and go direct to to the reassurance that all is well.

Posted by: RichardHooker | June 19, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@hsroth1: "But, I have yet to hear anybody articulate what "liberties" they, as an individual, had on Jan. 19, 2001 that they do not have today."

Easy - back then my personal phone calls could only be recorded by my government if a panel of judges agreed that my activity warranted such action.

".. is not a civil liberty even implied in the Constitution"

The Constitution does not grant liberties to the people. It defines liberties which the people cede to the government for the greater good.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | June 19, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Dan Dan Dan be careful today's article could be construed as actual thoughtful criticism of the Obama administration and their say one thing but act in an entirely opposite manner when implementing policy policy.

Remember there is no enemy on the left and your role is to simply repeat with adulation each and every action of this administration.

Let's repeat some of those early media exercises we gave you at your first press briefing with the new admin. 1. Repeat after me " Honest the stimulus package was actually a stimulus package. " 2. "Iraq is the WRONG war but Afghanistan is the RIGHT war. 3. Really "Michelle did pick military families as her area of interest all on her own the perpetual campaign team in the White House had nothing to do with it."

That is all be more careful next time.

Posted by: msmithnv | June 19, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse


Dan, I don't get it.

You're doing a good, no, great, job of making the Obama administration look bad.

Except you're using facts and reality, so I'm afraid that won't fly with the MSM neo-cons. They like lies, folderol and hooey instead.

The truth is just too much, I guess.

Looking forward to your next project. I may have to cancel my registration with the Post after 8+ years. It's time for a lot of us to move on.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 19, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

So long, Dan. You da' man.

Posted by: drbarryf2004 | June 19, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm as dismayed as you are about the White House's apparent retention of repulsive Bush-era attitudes and tactics, against which Obama himself campaigned. The only rationale I can come up with--and this might suggest a desperate need to retain illusions about Obama as a reformer--is that Obama expects the courts to force him to divulge "secrets" he claims need protection. He then can have it both ways: get the truth out about the cretinous activities of the Bush/Cheney years and still appear to be forced to divulge these things.
If this isn't his strategy, I would have to think he's been seduced by the Oval Office.

Posted by: gratianus | June 19, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin's job is President bashing and it apparently doesn't matter which President it is. He's another one of Hiatt's prostitutes in disguise as a journalists and no better than the "fair and balanced" morons on FOX HATE CHANNEL,

Posted by: coloradodog | June 19, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The examples you cite are bad government by officials we elected to represent us, and do not implicate civil liberties. You can still, last I checked, voice your opinion in opposition, form opposition groups and parties, and go to the polls and vote for those who will act more responsibly without fear of having you door kicked in because of it.

Posted by: hsroth1 | June 19, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I now see why the Post decided to retain Will and Krauthammer, but not you.

You confuse people with facts! Readers don't know how to deal with facts!

I look forward to continuing the confusion when you land your next gig.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | June 19, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm very sorry that the Post made this terrible decision, Mr. Froomkin. I have great respect for the way you hold Obama to account as much as you did Bush. Today's piece is another example of your integrity and value to the news-reading community.

But by firing you and running Wolfowitz's piece the next day, the Post has crossed a line. While it leaned neo-con before, today it fell right over. Unless this mistake is corrected very soon (including rehiring you and firing at least one of the myriad neo-cons on the op-ed page), I am afraid I will have to cancel my subscription, something I don't want to do. I simply can't have my money going towards the upkeep of a neo-con "think" tank.

For now I urge my fellow readers to do what I did. Write to the ombudsman at ombudsman@washpost.com. Tell him exactly, but politely, how you feel and what the consequences will be if the Post "stays the course" towards neo-con purity. Perhaps together we can win back Mr. Froomkin and take back the Post from the neo-cons who have hijacked it.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | June 19, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

So, the WaPo can't produce a viable print media business model, and now are jeopardizing their on-line media model by firing the one credible voice it had in on-line commentary. Genius! Has the old gray lady become senile? Too bad Jack Kevorkian isn't around to put the old broad out of her misery. On the bright side, there are lots of on-line media outlets where Mr. Froomkin's talents will be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: seriouslookingdude | June 19, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's another set of letters going out to my Representative and Senators via Ted Stevens' "series of tubes" this weekend.

I'll also be asking my Representative about this at his town hall this weekend. Those of you who also object to what's going on here, it might not be a bad idea to go to your Representative's town hall (if he or she holds them) and give him or her an earful...

Posted by: apn3206 | June 19, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's it. I will never read this newpaper again. The WaPo sacks Froomkin and keeps the likes of Krauthmier and Kristol.. even though they've had to issue corrections for Kristol 3 times. Ridiculous that he still has a voice and Froomkin does not.
So long WaPo, guess we'll be seeing you featured on Fox in the near future.

Posted by: craig_henslin | June 19, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

There is more to this than meets the eye.

Releasing this document likely starts a criminal investigation into the last administration when Obama wants to go forward.

Good theory, bad idea.

Those documents are coming out.

...and I still love President Obama!

Posted by: onestring | June 19, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Froomkin just doesn't have the guts to hold the current White House's feet to the fire. What a partisan hack...wait, this is actually respectable journalism? This is the traditional role of the reporter? Wow, I guess it's just been that long, we don't even know how to recognize it in mainstream media coverage. Well, at least I won't have to grace the pages of the Washington Post for much longer."

Posted by: mjtimber

I don't know what blog you've been reading, but you need a course in reading comprehension. The whole article is blasting the current administration and you're too stupid to understand that. Moreover, you're information presentation leaves a lot to be desired. "I won't have to grace the pages of the Washington Post for much longer." Do you have the slightest understanding of what you wrote?

Posted by: edwcorey | June 19, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Froomkin just doesn't have the guts to hold the current White House's feet to the fire. What a partisan hack...wait, this is actually respectable journalism? This is the traditional role of the reporter? Wow, I guess it's just been that long, we don't even know how to recognize it in mainstream media coverage. Well, at least I won't have to grace the pages of the Washington Post for much longer."

Posted by: mjtimber

I don't know what blog you've been reading, but you need a course in reading comprehension. The whole article is blasting the current administration and you're too stupid to understand that. Moreover, your information presentation leaves a lot to be desired. "I won't have to grace the pages of the Washington Post for much longer." Do you have the slightest understanding of what you wrote?

Posted by: edwcorey | June 19, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll play devil's advocate for the minute.

We all have a right to have free discussions without fear of eavesdropping or disclosure to outsiders. Debate over a State of the Union speech should be frank, vigorous, and unconstrained by worries about what fodder political enemies may make of it. The only exception would be if there was extremely strong evidence that that discussion included the commission of a crime of conspiracy.

I long have thought that the Clinton administration didn't put up enough of a fight against Starr's witch hunt. The right used the criminal justice system for political purposes.

I can see a prosecutor supporting the confidentiality of Cheney's testimony strictly on the basis that it is a tool to gather evidence in the course of building a legal case. Otherwise the probability of non-responsive answers greatly increases. However, confidentiality should not be imposed retroactively. If Fitzgerald didn't offer it as a condition of Cheney's testimony at the time, the DOJ has no business asserting it now.

And finally, let me offer Dan another vote of support. I will certainly be

Posted by: j2hess | June 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll play devil's advocate for the minute.

We all have a right to have free discussions without fear of eavesdropping or disclosure to outsiders. Debate over a State of the Union speech should be frank, vigorous, and unconstrained by worries about what fodder political enemies may make of it. The only exception would be if there was extremely strong evidence that that discussion included the commission of a crime of conspiracy.

I long have thought that the Clinton administration didn't put up enough of a fight against Starr's witch hunt. The right used the criminal justice system for political purposes.

I can see a prosecutor supporting the confidentiality of Cheney's testimony strictly on the basis that it is a tool to gather evidence in the course of building a legal case. Otherwise the probability of non-responsive answers greatly increases. However, confidentiality should not be imposed retroactively. If Fitzgerald didn't offer it as a condition of Cheney's testimony at the time, the DOJ has no business asserting it now.

And finally, let me offer Dan another vote of support. I will certainly be generating fewer page clicks for the Post. More precisely, I refuse in the future to read any of the right-wing columnists who are so clearly the favorites of Hiatt and Co.

Posted by: j2hess | June 19, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

This post is exactly why I read this column regularly over the past few years and why I'm so sad to see it go. It's almost impossible to read criticism and analysis of politics and government that isn't ideologically driven--or ideological drivel--anymore. Dan, you kept me sane during the Bush debacle, and you would have continued working for the public during the Obama administration. One of your best services was pointing out when the press was doing its job, and more often, when it wasn't.

I thought The Post had jumped the shark when it hired on Kristol. I was wrong. Now it's official.

Thanks for all your hard work over the years. You'll end up somewhere better.

Posted by: BlueDog1 | June 19, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

BigTunaTim: First, the wiretapping that was the source of controversy fell under the Foreign Intl Surv Act (FISA). The calls at issue were targeted due to the person of interest making the calls, and where the calls were being made to. Further, when exigent circumstances are present(time, national security....)the FISA may be circumvented to some degree.

You, as a citizen, making domestic phone calls, cannot have anything you say in those calls used against you in court unless a warrant has been issued by a court with jurisdiction over the law enforcement agency utilizing the wiretap. Thus, your rights under the 4th and 5th amendments (your "civil liberties) are as intact today as they were 10 years, 20 years, and 200 years ago.

Not sure I understand your statement about the constitution. The Articles of the Constitution lay out the limited duties of the Federal Government, and the Bill of Rights preserves the rights of individuals vis-a-vis the Federal Government. So, the Bill of Rights define our civil liberites.

Posted by: hsroth1 | June 19, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

It appears that our Constitution is under attack by the democrats as well as the republicans. Perhaps it's more correctly under assault by a relatively small group of weasels called politicians. The fact that they're sitting in those bought-and-paid-for chairs doesn't have a thing to do with whether they're the even rometely decent people. Hiding behind lawyers to block the people's right to know the facts is reprehensible. Obama promised a more open government, but this is quite damning evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Byrd3 | June 19, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

People need to have patience. Every interest group and angry person seems to want to have his/her needs addressed in the first year of the new administration. With a near depression, two wars, a need for health care and regulatory reform, Obama has to set priorities and not divide Congress on wedge issues while scrounging for votes for the major things that need to be done in the first year.

On document releases, I think it is actually best to be patient and let the court decide this one. If Obama simply releases the report or fails to defend the prior Justice Dept position it establishes no lasting precedent and just has the appearance of a new President going witch hunting in the prior administration for political gain, rather than trying to solve the nation's current problems.

Posted by: allentown1 | June 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, will be very sorry to see Froomkin go as he was one of the most tenacious critics of the Bush & Obama Administrations. We need someone like him to keep an eye on all the chicanery that goes on inside the Beltway.

I did not find you partisan or petty -- you merely reported on the incessant inconsistencies in which the Bush and now Obama Administrations conduct their policy.

SOMEONE needs to report on this and I don't see it anywhere in the mainstream media. In fact, the WaPo is the most schizophrenic publication out there -- filling its page with neocons but pretending they lean to the Left. They are all over the place with explains their steep loss in revenue and readership.

Now that they have given wolfowitz (a war criminal and disgraced former World Bank President) a platform to spew his venom, WaPo has just lost another reader.

Good luck Dan in your future endeavors.

Posted by: winoohno | June 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow is the far Left turning in Obama??? Why he's finally making some sense. Well maybe you should run their own far left loon in 2012. Split the Democratic party. That's sounds good... with Romney in the White House things will start looking up...

Posted by: sovine08 | June 19, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Again, Byrd3: What constitutional right specifically. The people do not have a right, under the Constitution, to all the facts surrounding actions and decisions of the President - especially those that have national security implications. The Freedom of Information Act (a creature of statute, not the Constitition) exempts classified information, and predecisional information from public disclosure. Further, the courts have ruled time-after-time that the President enjoys a wide latitude in the secrecy of deliberations between himself and his staff. So, again,what specific rights are you being denied?

In my personal opinion, Obama/Congress is making the right decision if it is refusing to release information that could impact our national security in the name of a proving any implied misdeed by the previous administration.

Posted by: hsroth1 | June 19, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

@hsroth1 please point out the section which says it can be suspended "when exigent circumstances are present(time, national security....)" Also the following statement is false "The calls at issue were targeted due to the person of interest making the calls" The Bush administration targeted all calls originating outside of the US (even if the call was to someone in the US) without regard to who was making those calls.

Also I'm no lawyer but it seems to me that also means the government needs a warrant if it wants to read my email http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/us/17nsa.html?hp

Then of course there's:
* Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

American citizen Jose Padilla was held and tortured for nearly four years by the US government.

which also violated the Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Posted by: foxn | June 19, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Froomkin,

I'm so sorry to hear of the Washington Post's actions toward you. You were far and away the best columnist: You were honest, incisive, and objective. You always managed to provide the appropriate context and history for your coverage. You were the sole voice ahead of everyone in covering Bush's illegal war, illegal surveillance, and of course torture. Your coverage of Obama is a testament to your honesty and objectivity. You (along with Krugman) are truly unique, especially in comparison to the Post's arsenal of biased conservative columnists.

I'm sure you will find a better position because your skills and integrity are so profound. Good luck and thanks for your many columns. You were the only reason I read this paper, and you will be greatly missed.

Posted by: dougd1 | June 19, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Do we have George W. Clinton ( Obama maybe)?
Meanwhile the Congress rolls over .... good boy.
God save the Queen!

Posted by: peterroach | June 19, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"Wow is the far Left turning in Obama??? Why he's finally making some sense. Well maybe you should run their own far left loon in 2012. Split the Democratic party. That's sounds good... with Romney in the White House things will start looking up... "

Posted by: sovine08 | June 19, 2009 2:49 PM

Some on the Left will cheerlead Obama no matter what he does, many will not. Loyalty to an authoritarian leader is not a defining trait of the Left. The Left suffers from this fact traditionally in national elections, although demography changed that in the last one.

On the Right, few dissent from the Leader. Bush was your Decider & you guys stuck w/ him & to this day are reticent to admit he blew it. It works great for elections, but not so much for the push back required by democracy.

Froomkin is holding Obama's feet to the fire, just like Bush. It's just that you like Bush, don't like criticism of him (possibly anti-American?) & anyone who takes issue w/ his numerous failures is a partisan, but somehow you aren't.

Romney - no chance, no chance at all. Obama has been good in some ways & terribly disappointing in others. However, he has changed to tone & way the POTUS deals w/ the people & he will get reelected because of this again. Your platform is Libs suck! How profound.

Romney - the guy when asked said that he couldn't think of a single thing wrong w/ America. You are effing kidding. Go back to watching Glenn Beck, the grownups are busy.

Dan - you are the man. Wherever you wind up writing, I will become a reader. Thanks for being a genuine American & a true supporter of Democracy.

Posted by: nameit23 | June 19, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What a stunning blow to journalistic ethics at WPO..excuse me, lack thereof. I was addicted to your columns, your incisive insights and your relentless reporting. I wish you only the best as you continue to soar to even greater heights in what will continue to be a stellar journalistic career.

Posted by: krosenthal | June 19, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I agree that this a stupid and laughable argument from the Justice department. I suppose that is the only argument it had left. But it makes Eric Holder look pretty bad.

Posted by: kevin1231 | June 19, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

As someone who vehemently railed against the secretive shenanigans of the Bush Admin. and supported you fully in your columns about their hubris, I applaud your essays now on holding the Obama's admin. feet to the fire on similar grounds. They are disappointing me with each passing day on the matter of "openness". I fear that Obama maybe in fact now not be able to attend to such matters because of so many other issues. I am still making excuses....but am fast coming to the end.

Posted by: mendonsa | June 19, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow is the far Left turning in Obama??? Why he's finally making some sense. Well maybe you should run their own far left loon in 2012. Split the Democratic party. That's sounds good... with Romney in the White House things will start looking up...

-------------

It's not about Obama. It's about America.

I don't think anyone really sees Obama as God, simply as a leader accountable to the people, and unfortunately, he's failing badly, in some areas.

This area of medicore CIA weakboy PhD Betty is one of those areas --so, who is advising him and influencing him on these issues?

Why, the same CIA and military guys who lost the war under Cheney, who advised FOR Gitmo, who whine about "state secrets" to cover their incompetence and treason, and then who wonder why they're the laughing stock of world intel as they lose another one in an oh so predictable manner...

But we knew this, so it's no surprise at all.

Same MO, laughable.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | June 19, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

See Scott Horton's excellent column castigating the necon Wapo for firing Froomkin.
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/06/hbc-90005240

"Froomkin’s work was heavily read and circulated. Indeed, as Glenn Greenwald notes, Froomkin was the author of three of the ten most closely followed columns published at WaPo. His work was consistently well regarded. So why would WaPo say good-bye to its premier web writer?

The answer to that question certainly lies with Fred Hiatt and his plans to push the WaPo editorial page to the Neocon right. Anyone in doubt about that should just have a glance at the line-up in today’s paper: Charles Krauthammer, Paul Wolfowitz, David Ignatius, all in a coordinated attack on Obama for not intervening in Iran, plus Michael Hayden, telling us that we will all die in our sleep if torture-mongers are held accountable for their crimes. Alone among the voices at WaPo, Froomkin has had the temerity to remind the Neocons of their mistakes and call them on their falsehoods. Charles Krauthammer, for instance, recently threw a fit when Froomkin dissected his use of the intellectually dishonest ticking-bomb scenario. "

Posted by: hamletmachin | June 19, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Tom Obama. Like Clarence Thomas and Steppin' Fetchit.

Who'd a thunk it!

Thanks much. Vietnam era draftee/veteran

Posted by: HLBeckPE | June 19, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you were the only reason I read the WaPo. I will be sorry to see you go.

Posted by: marthaler | June 19, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin is holding Obama's feet to the fire, just like Bush. It's just that you like Bush, don't like criticism of him (possibly anti-American?) & anyone who takes issue w/ his numerous failures is a partisan, but somehow you aren't.
Posted by: nameit23
____
Actually the problem with Froomkin is he is OBSESSED with Bush. For Godsakes give it up already! But Froomkin wanted to nail Bush so bad he's turned against Obama because his his mind Obama's letting Bush get away with it. The thing what he and others on the far left are only now understanding.. Bush was NEVER going to be charged with anything. Obama if nothing else is a realist..
Posted by: nameit23

Romney - no chance, no chance at all. Obama has been good in some ways & terribly disappointing in others. However, he has changed to tone & way the POTUS deals w/ the people & he will get reelected because of this again. Your platform is Libs suck! How profound.
____
Actually according to polls country is 40% conservative, 35% moderate and 21% liberal. Republicans problem is they lost the middle.. Obama knows this which is why he won't go far Left.. BUT if that splits Democrats.. a Republican could have a shot in 2012

Dan - you are the man. Wherever you wind up writing, I will become a reader. Thanks for being a genuine American & a true supporter of Democracy.
Posted by: nameit23
______
Dan - I always thought you were a jerk.. but I do like a lively debate. Maybe if you were a little more open minded and not so locked into one way of thinking u would have lasted longer..

Posted by: sovine08 | June 19, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

No one should be surprised by this. Gov't's never willingly give up power. That the right will see this as justifaction for President Bush's expansion of executive power is silly. People don't increase their power because it's right. They do so because they can. "No one becomes a tyrant to keep out the cold."

Posted by: kchses1 | June 19, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

How's that Hopey Changey workin for you bout now?

Obama paying your mortgage?

Get a new Kitchen from Obama?

Obama pay your car payment?

Everybody you know got a good job now?

Obama's Hope is killin this country!

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | June 19, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Look's like the real, behind the scene, power brokers in the US got their hooks into Obama.

Posted by: notabeliever | June 19, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm a middle of the road Democrat and I won't vote for him again.

The guy has convinced within months of his taking office that he is dishonest and will stoop to anything to protect himself in the future even if it means going back on campaign promises.

So much for transparency...

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | June 19, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Just like many of the posters to this latest blog on the Obama administration's coverup of Bush/Cheney misdeeds I mostly read the Washington Post to read Froomkin. I, too, will move to the website that is wise enough and courageous enough to employ Dan Froomkin.

The Bush/Cheney wingnuts bash Froomkin with every blog and the Obamaniacs make excuses for Obama following in Bush's footsteps but Froomkin continues to put the information before us. Thanks, Dan.

Posted by: frazeysburger | June 19, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

For years I have had an order for my online news and commentary reading. It always ended with White House Watch. I learned from my mom to have dessert after dinner. I considered your pieces the highlight of my reading and savored your honesty, guts, insight, reliance on facts and ability to piece together a narrative for each day's most important political events involving the White House.

The Post fired you? OK, I'm firing the Post. As of today it is no longer on my reading list.

Good luck, and see you at your next home.

Posted by: lj51 | June 19, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, when you make a career out of hating Bush, you can't be surprised when you have no purpose after Bush leaves office.

Posted by: bobmoses | June 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all you've done here at WaPo, Dan.

The shrunken skeleton of the "GreatNewsPaperFormerlyKnownAsTheWashingtonPost" salutes you. Damn the rest. May you find a very soft landing; think you may already have done ;->.

Dead tree, dead WaPo.

Posted by: NatalieF | June 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama's biggest failing so far is his reneging on openness. I admire his ability to see all sides of a question in most things, but not on the transparency , or in his case - non-transparency, issue.

Posted by: annegreen | June 19, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you do quality, intellectually honest work. Hopefully, you find a another forum for your voice. The WaPo, which in the 1970's honored the American people and Constitution, is deeply ill. Good Luck.

Posted by: BBear1 | June 19, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

OH NOOOOO.............


The White House has been taken over by run of the mill, garden-variety politicians. Never saw that one coming. Duh.

But, seeing frustrated liberals gives me the giggles....

I can only hope the Obama keeps it up.

Posted by: Spitfires | June 19, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Dan, (I haven't yet read your post but will) before you are silenced, please make sure we know how to read your writings. I will look for it and post it over at the dailykos, where your firing is being discussed.

Not that it would make it past the editorial (read: corporate) board, it would be great if you could post your thoughts about being "let go".

Posted by: JoelB8 | June 19, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear WashPo gave you the boot, Dan. You were one of the few journalists there who actually held the Bush administration accountable--not just in the last couple of years, when it was obvious that the neocon foreign policy and Voodoo Economics were disasters, but all along, like a good, skeptical journalist. You were tough on Obama, too. I guess they needed more room for more more neocon blather all the time.

Posted by: Ladyrantsalot | June 19, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

why is this on here? i thought you were terminated?

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | June 19, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Dan the Man,

Many thanks for your columns and online chats over the years. I am appaled but not surprised at Fred Neocon Hiatt's decision. Perhaps you will find a place to work where your bosses are thankful for the readership you bring in.

Good luck. Your departure is another reason not to read the Post anymore.

Thanks again for all your hard work.

W, D.C.

Posted by: jagold131 | June 19, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Cheney has major connections going back to the days of Nixon. He is being protected by powers Obama dare not cross.

Posted by: OldUncleDave | June 19, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Surely, if passed, this could be enforced retroactively...


Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., says it's the responsibility of the states to make sure political candidates are eligible for the offices they seek, but he's in favor of both state and federal demands that future presidential candidates have a formal procedure to document their qualifications.

"The bill requires any federal candidates' campaign committee filing with the Federal Election Commission to produce a copy of the candidate's birth certificate," he wrote.

Posted by: FraudObama | June 19, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Another excellent article by Dan Froomkin and anything but an ode to Barack Obama. Nobody else in the corporate mainstream media has the guts or brains to write this stuff. It'll be interesting to see where Mr. Froomkin lands now that the neoconservative mafia at the Washington Post has purged him from the ranks. Liberal media my eye.

Posted by: ejs2 | June 19, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Hope you find a happy career somewhere. The WP will be reduced to the Democrat's Nationalal Enquirer as they continue to ignore real human spirit articles such as the APs coverage of Colby Curtin's dying wish.

Posted by: red4ever2 | June 19, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

The Obama "justice" department is nearly, but not quite of course, as reactionary so far as the Bush "justice" department was. Besides the examples cited by Dan Froomkin and the attempted cover-up of torture, human rights abuses by some people during the previous administration, there is the recent infamous Justice department support for the "defense of marriage act," couched in ideological rant from the Middle Ages.

Obama may have often preached progressive rhetoric as a candidate, but it is increasingly clear this was simply to defeat the then better known Senator Clinton. He is, like most Democrats in Congress, in the center-right in overall policies, especially foreign and "national security" policies.

So much for Obama's campaign promises for transparency in government and the rule of law. They are on a par with campaign promises by Johnson in 1964 not to send American boys to Vietnam and Nixon in 1968 with his secret plan to end the war.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | June 20, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Shame on Washingtonpost to let Dan go. He was the single reason I came to this site every afternoon to read the column and as a result surfed the site. No more; I will no longer visit Washingtonpost.com and I am removing it from my bookmarks. What a lie that his blog does not have the readership? If you have any integrity, prove it to us. I was suspicious some time back, that the blog site redesign was a consipiracy to lower the traffic to his site. The format change definitely made it difficult to read all of his post in an easy manner. I think the management forced the change. Good bye Mr.Froomkin, I will come to read where ever you will write next. Meanwhile let the neocons trash this site and gloat.

Posted by: rpalanivelu | June 20, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA'S APPEASEMENT FOREIGN POLICIES WEAKEN THE U.S.; HE SIDED WITH IRANIAN BRUTAL REGIME!!!

Coward liar Barack HUSSEIN Obama "Apologist in chief", how can he keep his nonsense promise during his campaign, that is, negotiating with U.S. enemies such as North Korea and Iran, which have never respected any treaty with U.S., especially when North Korea just launched many missile and nuclear tests and planned to fire missile toward Hawaii, not mentioning illegally arrested and sentenced two American journalists Laura Ling and Eunu Lee to twelve years of labor, while Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an extremist who called for Israel to be wiped off the map and denied the holocaust, was just re-elected by fraud. Is Obama going to bow to Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejas as he did to King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia to gain his peace deals? Is he willing to convert to Islam, his Kenyan father and Indonesian step father's religion, to meet Osama Bin Laden's requirement that in order to end the Iraq war, U.S. troop withdrawal is not enough, Americans must reject their democratic system and embrace Islam? Just recently, Obama said that he would support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections, giving a green light to Teheran's ambituous uranium enrichment program, which can be used for its discreet nuclear bomb development program as well, without suffering sanctions and economic isolation as it currently endures. Does Obama want Iran to become another North Korea using its nuclear power to terrorize the U.S and its allies? Worst still, Obama refused to show support for pro-democracy protesters and denounce the brutal regime for the deaths of seven demontrators, fearing to be seen as interfering in Iran's internal affairs so that he could not pursue a nuclear deal with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader. In fact, Obama sided with the regime, citing that there was not a bit of difference between the two candidates, a moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi and hardcore extremist Ahmadinejad. A big mouth for change at home, he does not want to see any change in Iran. Is he going to turn a blind eye to another Tianamen Square massacre committed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard? As for a Palestinian state demanded by Obama, it will undoubtedly soon become a TERRORIST state under control of terrorist militant group Hamas, which is the most powerful and popular force with its goal to destroy Israel and which won a majority seats in the current Palestinian National Authority in 2006 election and ousted Fatah militant group of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas of Gaza in 2007. Last but not least, Obama ordered to stop waterboarding tactic used by CIA, even it worked well on terrorist suspects like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-describer planner of 9-11 attacks who provided CIA with valuable information, preventing more 9-11 attacks and saving thousands of American lives.

Posted by: TIMNGUYEN1 | June 20, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Has it ever occurred to any of you brilliant political blowhards that the administration "might" have good reasons for its stance on these issues? If you oppose secrecy until you know the secret being kept, you might, very well, have excellent reasons for continuing to keep the secret. Make sense? No? Well, I guess you have your own reasons for refusing to think. Maybe you'll want total transparency until it's too late to put the monsters back in Pandora's box?

Posted by: smartgirl312 | June 20, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

@smartgirl312:

Quite right. We should be demanding less transparency from the government, not more. When our great paternal leaders hide things from citizens, it's always for our own good. We should be thankful they aren't troubling us with inconvenient details we just can't handle.

Thanks to patriots like you, the government doesn't even have to defend secrecy itself. You've learned quickly that it's best to actually demand that information be withheld from you. Have a cookie.

Posted by: chris_d | June 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I sure wish you were as dogged on the illegal firing of Walpin as you are about a non-story like Valerie Plame. I think your bias may be showing. If so you might still have a position..

As it were..there are plenty of Obama cheerleaders...no need for an excess.

Posted by: dude1394 | June 21, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

After reading today's comments, and as a fomer student of Mr. Froomkin's brother at UM Law, I would be derelict not to ask a question I have been begging the answer to for years. First, from the left, now from the right, I hear non-stop complaining about an attack on our "civil liberties" by the Bush (and now Obama) administrations. But, I have yet to hear anybody articulate what "liberties" they, as an individual, had on Jan. 19, 2001 that they do not have today.

By the way, transparent governance in the Executive Branch is not a civil liberty even implied in the Constitution, but arose from Nixon-era events prompting Congress to grant limited power to know the activities of their government (FOIA, FACA, and the Gov't in the Sunshine Act). All of these statutes have numerous exemptions and limitations open to various interpretations.

*******************

Have you not heard of the USA PATRIOT act of October 2001 ?

Above all other laws that is the one we must write to all of our congressmen about to make dead certain that it sunsets in December of this year

Posted by: TramplingGrapes | June 21, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm so disappointed in the Post for the decision to axe this journalist. I always thought, if this is 'blogging', as opposed to 'journalism', I surely don't see a lick of difference.

Froomkin was never that easy to find, but I've come to rely on him for a consistent understanding of what's going on. His summary of msm was invaluable. (Was it this offering of what other media had to say on an issue that the Post objected to, was threatened by?)

It's simply incomprehensible to me that this once-fine paper could make such a decision~especially at This time in our country's history. There is something very screwed-up in upper management these days...

Posted by: marian60 | June 22, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

TramplingGrapes - I am willing to bet that I am much more familiar with the Patriot Act and its provisions than many. Again, could you please point to a unconstitutional provision of the Patriot Act. The purpose of the Patriot Act was to allow for more proactive law enforcement and intelligence activities/sharing in preventing terrorism, within the confines of the Constitution. Like any other law, there may be those that seek to abuse it, but the Act itself is not an abuse or assault on the Constitituon.

Posted by: hsroth1 | June 22, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

To foxn - The exigent circumstances rules stem from a long line of Supreme Court cases that recognize that there is no absolute rights under the Bill of Rights, and that when a legitimate function of Government, such as national security and law enforcement would be crippled, and exigent circumstance exists. For example, requiring a police officer to get a warrant when chasing a suspect, before entering a residence the suspect runs into, would hinder law enforcement. As for the "wiretapping." I don't know the source of your information, but you give the Government a lot of credit: how many man hours, IT resources and tax dollars do you think it would take to monitor every call?? Limited resources left it to law enforcement to monitor only calls of interest. Finally, Jose Padilla took up arms against his country surrendering his citizenship. The rights he was "denied" are not afforded to enemy combatants unless Congress decides to grant them.

There is a book called "In The Common Defense" by Warren Baker, a Clinton Defense Counsel, that explains the balancing act government must undertake in protecting freedom and the national security within the confines of Constititional duties. I recommend it. Finally, any alleged abuses of the Bush era pale in comparrison to the actions of some other Presidents in the name of National Security: Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus during the Civil War; (2) FDR seized the property of Japanese, Italian and German CITIZENS and interned them for years during WWII; Truman seized private US Steel Mills during the Korean conflict...... and the list goes on

Posted by: hsroth1 | June 22, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

First, Dan - can you surmise how much of this obfuscation is coming from Obama himself and how much is coming from the legions of career GOP-friendly lawyers Bush/Cheney installed?

And to Hsroth1: Excellent analysis but I have to take issue with the arguments putting Bush's deeds in context. A Civil War between the states and a World War - though today forgotten by all but a few - completely eclipse what Bush had to deal with - ie terrorists plotting from caves in Afghanistan and a needless war of his own making.

Posted by: imike1 | June 22, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

hsroth1. Have you read the patriot act???
"The Act increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records;" ~ ~ violations of 4th amendment. OOPS
"Title VIII alters the definitions of terrorism, and establishes or re-defines rules with which to deal with it. It redefined the term "domestic terrorism" to broadly include mass destruction as well as assassination or kidnapping as a terrorist activity." ~ ~ This denies all due process for ALLEGED criminals (remember the police 'occasionally' get the wrong man) violation of 5th Amendment. No more grand jury for domestic terrorists; they have been remanded to Guantanamo. OOPS.

"group, the Humanitarian Law Project, also objected to the provision prohibiting "expert advise and assistance" to terrorists and filed a suit against the U.S. government to have it declared unconstitutional. They succeeded, and a Federal Court found that the law was vague enough to cause a reasonable person to guess whether they were breaking the law or not. Thus they found it violated the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, and struck it down." ~ ~ So I guess we got that one back.
"University of California passed a resolution condemning (amongst other things) the indefinite detention provisions of the Act, while the ACLU has accused the Act of giving the Attorney General "unprecedented new power to determine the fate of immigrants... Worse, if the foreigner does not have a country that will accept them, they can be detained indefinitely without trial."

This is just some cut & paste of the more blatant abuses.

Shall I continue? Every single Title in that Act has unconstitutional actions that directly take away liberties.

Posted by: TramplingGrapes | June 24, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Further, hsroth1, I will contend that the USA PATRIOT act and its followers have done more damage to the United States Constitution than any other law.

Some people have contended (with some merit) that it has done more damage to the US C than ALL other laws, combined.

As far as I know, no part of that act has ever passed legal scrutiny. Every section that has been challenged in court, has been struck down.

Posted by: TramplingGrapes | June 24, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

and last, hsroth1.
Comparing Bush to Lincoln or Roosevelt is casting a lot of slime at a pair of the greatest men who ever lived.

I remember well the zeal that college students have. It is laudable.

Just don't confuse it with the realpolitik devastation that the past administration committed to the United States as a government, as a military force and as a people.
All done very simply by promoting fear in the populace so that they could attack other countries and promote a tyranny in this one.
You might look into that word tyrannyl both the ancient *and* modern definitions apply.

Posted by: TramplingGrapes | June 24, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

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