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Katharine Q. Seelye writes in the New York Times: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested today that he was open to allowing the media to photograph the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers as their bodies and remains are returned to the United States...He said he was ordering a review of the military policy that bars photographers from taking pictures of the return of the coffins, most of which go through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and set a 'short deadline' for a decision."

Zachary Coile writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "President Obama is shelving a plan announced in the final days of the Bush presidency to open much of the U.S. coast to oil and gas drilling, including 130 million acres off California's shores from Mendocino to San Diego. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar put the plan on hold Tuesday while his agency conducts a 180-day review. But Salazar's critical comments about the proposal made clear that the new administration will rewrite it if not completely scrap it."

The New York Times editorial board writes: "The Obama administration failed — miserably — the first test of its commitment to ditching the extravagant legal claims used by the Bush administration to try to impose blanket secrecy on anti-terrorism policies and avoid accountability for serial abuses of the law....Voters have good reason to feel betrayed if they took Mr. Obama seriously on the campaign trail when he criticized the Bush administration’s tactic of stretching the state-secrets privilege to get lawsuits tossed out of court."

Diane McWhorter writes in a USA Today opinion piece that for Obama, the imperative to investigate Bush-Cheney torture policies "transcends even legal duty. For Obama to temporize on this issue will nullify the near-sacred significance attached to his victory: the virtue restored to the U.S. by the election of a black president."

The Los Angeles Times yesterday published some comments that former Bush senior adviser Karl Rove made at a speech last week, in which he argued that government leaks can cause serious harm. He added: "I love how the last eight years, this White House, the Bush White House, was criticized for being tight-lipped. We didn't leak." Thinkprogress highlights some of the reaction from the blogosphere.

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 11, 2009; 12:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

That Gates or Obama need to think about lifting DoD censorship is ludicrous. Bushco created their censorship and embedded reporters hide the human cost of war and push their agenda through friendly field stenographers. While Gates may have a stake in continuing DoD sanitized news, why Obama would even have to consider changing the policy in troubling.

Posted by: Bushy | February 11, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

If release of returning flag-draped coffins now occurs, it's only fair that classified photos of all returning dead coffins as a result of the Bush-Cheney invasion and occupation are declassified and made available to the public.

In just three short weeks, the Republicans are already blaming Obama for the Great Depression that it took them eight years to create. The mind reels at what the chickenhawks, who make up the Republican propaganda apparatus, would do with photos of dead from Bush-Cheney wars returning on Obama's watch.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 11, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

MAYBE SECRETARY GATES SHOULD REVIEW THE DECISION TO AWARD KBR ANOTHER LUCRATIVE CONTRACT FOR ELECTRICAL WORK IN IRAQ WHEN THIS SAME COMPANY IS CURRENTLY UNDER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION FOR NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE IN THE DEATHS OF MULTIPLE SOLDIERS AS A RESULT OF THEIR SHODDY, SUBSTANDARD ELECTRICAL WORK.

WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS END?

Posted by: winoohno | February 11, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

President Obama's efforts to protect the Bush administration are the only disappointing parts of his administration. It would be reasonable to suppose that the Obama administration will continue to use the "state secrets" legal tool, only less often, as they only expect to use it to protect the Bush administration. Presumably the political calculation is that the Obama administration should do whatever it can to protect the Bush administration, because it will cost them votes and/or be a distraction.

Posted by: dickdata | February 11, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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