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Too Embarrassing to Disclose?

President Obama's approach to government transparency is disturbingly opaque in places, particularly when it comes to disclosing information about the Bush administration's torture legacy.

To his credit, Obama in mid-April released a handful of Justice Department memos that authorized and itemized extraordinary brutality.

But a month later, he decided to block the release of more photos depicting detainee abuse by the military.

And now, Obama's CIA director is arguing against the release of details about the torture of Abu Zubaydah in a secret prison -- details that would not only vividly expose precisely what the government did in our name, but could also go a long way to revealing the motives of the torturers, the copious guidance they received from the White House, and how ineffective and counterproductive their methods turned out to be.

In his May 21 national security address, Obama vowed that he would "not protect information merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrassment to the government."

But what's emerging is an exception to the rule. The Obama administration apparently won't hide things from the public just because they're embarrassing -- unless they're really, really embarrassing.

Here's how the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, in an interview with The Washington Post yesterday, described the principle underlying the CIA's assertion: "[T]he greater the abuse, the more important it is that it should remain secret."

R. Jeffrey Smith writes in The Washington Post:

The Obama administration objected yesterday to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA detainees, arguing to a federal judge that doing so would endanger national security and benefit al-Qaeda recruitment.

In a pointed affidavit, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told a federal judge in New York that records describing the contents of the videotapes, which the CIA said it destroyed in 2005, and other documents containing what he called "sensitive operational information" about the interrogations, were properly classified.

Their forced disclosure to the American Civil Liberties Union "could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence we possessed," Panetta argued....

He said that while the memos discussed harsh interrogation "in the abstract," the CIA information was "of a qualitatively different nature" because it described the interrogation techniques "as applied in actual operations."...

He also submitted a classified statement to the court that he said explains why detainees could use the contents to hide information in the future, even though Obama has promised that the United States will not use the harsh interrogation techniques again.

Here, via blogger Marcy Wheeler, is Panetta's full declaration. He explains that the majority of the documents being requested consist of top secret cables sent to and from the CIA secret prison where Zubaydah -- the first detainee tortured by the CIA -- was being held.

These Top Secret communications consist primarily of sensitive intelligence and operational information concerning Abu Zubaydah. Drafted during the timeframe the interrogations were being conducted, these communications are the most contemporaneous documents the CIA possesses concerning these interrogations. In addition to these Top Secret communications, there are also a small number of miscellaneous documents, which include the notes of CIA employees who reviewed the 92 videotoapes before they were destroyed, logbooks containing details of the interrogations, and a photograph.

His central argument:

[D]isclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations where EITs were applied would provide al-Qa'ida with propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds... Information concerning the details of the EITs being applied would provide ready-made ammuntion for al-Qa'ida propaganda. The resultant damage to the national security would likely be exceptionally grave.

To which I have only one thing to say: the CIA should have thought of all this a long time ago -- ideally, before they embarked on actions whose disclosure alone would be enough to incite our enemies.

And here is Panetta's credibility-sapping finish:

[M]y determinations...are in no way driven by a desire to prevent embarrassment for the U.S. government or the CIA, or to suppress evidence of any unlawful conduct. My sole purpose is to prevent the exceptionally grave damage to the national security reasonably likely to occur from public disclosure of any portion of these documents, and to protect intelligence sources and methods.

The cable traffic, the logbooks and the written reports about the destroyed videotapes would give the American public a much better and more definitive view of not just what was going on in these CIA prisons, but where the pressure was really coming from to abandon tried-and-true interogation methods in favor of brutality.

Just a few weeks ago, for instance, NPR's Ari Shapiro reported that on a nearly daily basis in mid-2002, a CIA contractor would "write a top-secret cable to the CIA's counterterrorism center" requesting permission for various techniques to be used on Zubaydah. The CIA, Shapiro reported, "would then forward the request to the White House, where White House counsel Alberto Gonzales would sign off on the technique." It wasn't until months later, on August 1, 2002, that the Justice Department issued its official authorization. Comparing what was said in the cables to what the Justice Department lawyers presented as fact in their memos would also be telling.

But, as I wrote last month, the president who came into office promising to restore our international reputation and return responsibility to government now seems to be buying into the belief that covering up our sins is better than coming clean.

By Dan Froomkin  |  June 9, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Torture , Transparency  
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Comments

The reservations about incriminating activity, as Mr. Froomkin realizes, properly would occur before, not after, they are perpetrated. The cover-up is bad for our security now. Without punishment for crimes, we are condemning our country to another generation of war criminals. We must publish the evidence and punish the war crimes, or we are not under Rule of law.

Posted by: jocabel | June 9, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

A wise leader will recognize when something should or shouldn't be revealed and react according to what he learns along the way, and not according to campaign promises or criticism. It sounds to me like Pres. Obama isn't worried if he isn't elected again, that he's actually concerned about his country. Contrasted to the past 8 years I'd say he's doing a great job.

Posted by: OldManTalking | June 9, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I think the administration should release just enough of this information so that the public can decide whether this coverup is being motivated by embarrassment about torture, embarrassment about incompetence and gross inefficiency, or both.

Posted by: fzdybel | June 9, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

You don't unclassify or release anything about your sources, methods or capabilities of your intelligence gathering. It's not a coverup, it's basic to intelligence work.

Posted by: ronjaboy | June 9, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I really believe that no individual could be definitely committed to transparency, if that person is not him/her self transparent in all important matters.

The President has, probably, given up any claim to being transparent because of his rigid control about information about himself--birth certificate; medical records; education records etc., and even the process by which Czars are selected and the terms of reference of their positions.

Posted by: CalP | June 9, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse


It is vitally important that we restrict torture to the Muslim population.

Posted by: motorfriend | June 9, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse


President Obama is now a party to obstruction of justice.

Posted by: motorfriend | June 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Without punishment for crimes, we are condemning our country to another generation of war criminals.
----------
This is very true.

Another point Obama and Gates and Panetta seem to miss, and this one flies over their head like a 747, is in regard to the organizational and intellectual acumen of the torture kooks -- they have none, they're wholly untalented in terms of the skill needed to organize, much less understand, a military undertaking of the scale they undertook (sounds like North Korea, doesn't it?).

And he is going into Iraq with them, now having alienated, betrayed, really those who stood by the Constitution, the truly brave and intelligent, betraying them for the pre-bald perm of a John Brennan.

So, the US is now more vulnerable in that the leadership shows it really don't understand the problems it's trying to solve.

It's the same as with the economy -- Eliot Spitzer, in Slate, wrote an analysis about the repayment, stating, again it's feel good PR smoke and mirrors.

When the real problems aren't addressed they are never solved, and each go around further harms the US.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | June 9, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

There is no reason to release any of this information unless someone can/will actually do something with it. Will there be hearings and prosecutions? If not, then it makes no difference what you know or when.

The current administration is not any different than the one before it. Those that say Obama is better by just not being GWB have extremely LOW expectations. I was hoping that we had put adults back in charge of the government. Instead, we get another perpetual adolescent with ADD.

Posted by: mdsinc | June 9, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

What I find most disturbing is that Leon Panetta seems to be arguing that we can't release some details because they would reveal how our interrogations operate. This should no longer be a concern IF we no longer torture any more.

Posted by: fletc3her | June 9, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It appears that national and international laws were violated by Bush and his gang of criminals when they tortured prisoners in their custody. President Obama, CIA Director Panetta, and other government officers and employees with knowledge of laws being violated during the Bush years have a duty to bring that information to the courts so that justice can be pursued.

Even the wingnuts should be able to understand that the deliberate violation of this nation's laws by those who are sworn to protect those laws is the first step toward tyranny. The issue is not "classified information" but secret violations of our laws and a continuing cover-up of those violations.

Posted by: frazeysburger | June 9, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"[M]y determinations...are in no way driven by a desire to prevent embarrassment for the U.S. government or the CIA, or to suppress evidence of any unlawful conduct. My sole purpose is to prevent the exceptionally grave damage to the national security reasonably likely to occur from public disclosure of any portion of these documents, and to protect intelligence sources and methods."

Talk about locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen! The CIA should have thought about the embarrassment they were causing their country BEFORE the did it.

Posted by: thrh | June 9, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I find Obama's apparent u-turn troubling as well, and I can think of only one reason for it: what those photographs and accounts reveal is so egregious that their revelation would endanger American troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would be a difficult--almost impoossible--call to make.

Since this dilemma is not of Obama's making, but was handed to him by the criminal malfeasance of Bush/Cheney's administration, my hope is that Mr. Cheney et.al., after we have ended the two wars that his administration started, may be tried for the violations of US and international law that he is responsible for. Meanwhile, I believe that Mr. Obama is treading very carefully in an extremely delicate situation.

Posted by: elprimojpvh1 | June 9, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Any "normal" politician, given the opportunity to present evidence of criminal wrongdoing by his predecessor, would push that material out to the public at the first opportunity.

Obama is not a "normal" politician. He actually seems to think things through with a view to the long term.

In the case of torture, there is little doubt about who was responsible. Publishing whatever infomration they're currently debating over won't change most people's minds in the U.S. one way or the other. However, while I'm with Dan on most issues, if Obama thinks holding this stuff back for now is in the national interest, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, for now.

Just becuase they don't want it public right now doesn't mean that no one will eventually be published. It probably just means they don't want a politcally-charged sideshow going on while they deal with what they seem to consider more immediate economic, health care, and foreign policy issues.

The time for public release, hearings, investigations and prosecutions for torture is next year, in the run-up to the 2010 mid-term elections, lest the electorate forget why they voted anti-Republican in 2008.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 9, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

He should never have released the first round of memos because he now looks like a hypocrite.

Posted by: ktchvl | June 9, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's see: It's a security breach to let Americans know how torture kept us safe during the Cheney Administration. And, it's a security breach to show us the torture pictures that show nothing new, because it will let our enemies know all about our methods of intelligence-gathering. And it's a security breach to disclose information about the murders that were committed in our names, in the course of torturing helpless prisoners. Low expectations? Yes, and getting lower with every half-a**ed excuse that the liars run up the flagpole. And how much more dangerous are the "terrorists" being held at Gitmo than our home-grown skinheads and gang-bangers? Why don't we just put them in any general prison population and find out? They'd last about thirty seconds, at the outside. And while we're at it, why don't we just put Rush and Boner in charge of this slow boat to oblivion? I'm starting to think that it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference.

Posted by: shyde1 | June 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"You don't unclassify or release anything about your sources, methods or capabilities of your intelligence gathering. It's not a coverup, it's basic to intelligence work."

Unless, of course, the information contained therein is largely already available in the public domain, and the remaining information might reveal embarrassing or even illegal activities, and the excuse given for the continued classification leads logically to future government coverup of any information it deems unflattering.

By the way, where are all the trolls that poured out of the woodwork yesterday to protest Dan's hero-worship of Obama? They're always mysteriously absent in these critical posts.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | June 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

This isn't about national security because all of this happened years ago -- it's about the CIA destroying evidence in violation of the law. Period.

Is our Government above the law? That is the question that should be on our minds. During the Bush years, the answer to that question was a resounding YES!

Now, Obama the Golden Agent of Change, the Reformer, the Pragmatist -- is following in Bush's tiny footsteps... he is loving the whole strong unitary executive thing because it means he can cover up crimes and say it's to protect national security.

It must be nice to merely invoke the state secrets privilege or conjure up some inane declaration or pass a law that covers up crimes committed by our Government. Sure makes things convenient -- never mind this approach is just a denial. It is dysfunctional and pathetic in a land where Democracy and respect for the Rule of Law is supposed to be our guiding light.

Posted by: winoohno | June 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

How can we make these people love us if they know what kind of barbarians we really are? We must never let these pictures see the light of day. They might expose us to the world as the criminal torturers and murderers of women and children that we are clearly not. At least not now. At this moment. Hold on, starting........now. No, hold on.....now. Damn, just a minute......

Posted by: davidbn27 | June 9, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Let's give this administration a little time. There's enough on our plates right now that maybe we can all let a couple of things slide for year or so.

Obama is busy and he doesn't need this controversy right now. We all live in the real world right? There's enough info out there already to prosecute the past administration, right? If we are going to have justice then it has to be done at a time when Congress and the people are willing.

If an effort to push for prosecutions fails then there may not be a second chance. This is not that time!

Posted by: farkdawg | June 9, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin give it up you loser.. Obama is not going to help you hurt this country or the people who serve it. No one is going to be arrested or prosecuted... It's over get use to it.

Posted by: sovine08 | June 9, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

It's seeping out slowly and will continue to seep forever. What Obama isn't sure about is the extent that putting it all out in the open will ignite a new wave of violence and payback and fear all over the world, not only by other people toward Americans but also by the security agencies toward his administration. What I think he IS sure about is that the people he's dealing with in Congress and in the Fed gov in general are a herd of spineless backbiting weasels, and he's so unsure of who will stand with him that he can't risk it.

Posted by: SanDiegoBS | June 9, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The "we can't reveal what the terrorists would train to" argument makes sense only, as it's been said, if the US continues to torture. There is apparently still a loophole exception in the executive ban on torture which Obama signed, but I really don't think waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and the like will continue--certainly not micromanaged from the White House.

I have no problem with the state secrets principle being applied in certain specific cases. I can believe that some documents might in fact contain sensitive information about al Qaeda which the government doesn't want advertised, lest the terrorists change their behavior. I'm actually readier to believe that claim in this case, than I am for the prison photos, which are plainly just a matter of Obama's administration continuing the Bush cover-up of widespread abuse.

We'll see what the judge says. Conservatives have in cases ruled against the Bush administration. If we can't entirely trust the administration, we have no choice but to trust the courts.

Posted by: whizbang9a | June 9, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Wait, wait, don't tell me...

The reason Obama doesn't want to release the grotesque, morbid, obscene, cruel and unusual torture pics is not because they're embarassing but because the torture pics will be key pieces of evidence in the soon to be upcoming torture prosecution trials.

As a constitutional lawyer, Obama doesn't want to take the chance that the photos will be excluded as evidence in the upcoming war crimes trials.

That's got to be the reason.

Posted by: Patriot3 | June 9, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Froomkin give it up you loser.. Obama is not going to help you hurt this country or the people who serve it. No one is going to be arrested or prosecuted... It's over get use to it.

Posted by: sovine08 | June 9, 2009 2:52 PM"
===========================================

Squirm sovine08, squirm! The truth is, prosecuting those who tortured will only help our country. We expect other countries to do the same if they tortured one of our citizens. I'm sorry to say that your heroes, those sadistic torturers, will soon be in prison where they belong.

Cry all that you want, but nothing will change this fact.

Posted by: ClandestineBlaze | June 9, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Face it. The release of those partial memos was a political ploy designed to deflect attention away from Obama's questionable economic policies and onto the prior administration. When Cheney called Obama's bluff and demanded the release of all the memos, Obama backed off. Why? Do the complete memos vindicate the Bush administration?

Posted by: judithod | June 9, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

judithod,
I think there are plenty of news items to distract the press and public. There's a key distinction between being skeptical and cynical.

Posted by: boscobobb | June 9, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

winoohmo wrote
"This isn't about national security because all of this happened years ago. "

-----
I politely disagree. People have long memories, especially when it comes to foreign governments and citizens whose trust are necessary for our security.

I want to see these items addressed, but I do have priorities. Economy and healthcare are higher priorities for me at this time, but it's not as though our government can't walk and chew gum simultaneously.

Posted by: boscobobb | June 9, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The truth is, prosecuting those who tortured will only help our country. We expect other countries to do the same if they tortured one of our citizens. I'm sorry to say that your heroes, those sadistic torturers, will soon be in prison where they belong. Cry all that you want, but nothing will change this fact.
Posted by: ClandestineBlaze
_______
Truth is IF an American citizen was the mastermind behind a plot to murder 3000 innocient people and he was caught.. then he gets what he deserves... And Obama already has said he has no intention of going after the people who actually did the interogation.. so they are OUT. And Bush and Cheney will NOT be touched.. Obama doesn't want it and Pelosi just bringing it up had the worse week of her life, being grilled by the press and called a liar by the head of the CIA. She will not not make that mistake again.. This is OVER.. you can cry all you want, but the people who kept this country safe can sleep easily from now on.

Posted by: sovine08 | June 9, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"He should never have released the first round of memos because he now looks like a hypocrite.

Posted by: ktchvl | June 9, 2009 2:06 PM"

Obama did not release those memos, he was compelled by a court of law under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) to release the memos. Because the president is not an all-powerful dictator, he must acquiesce to the court's demands. What is occurring now is that Lieberman/Graham w/ the support of this administration are trying to enact legistlation that would change the FOIA so that the government could keep information/evidence secret if that evidence were to make the government look bad or somehow provide evidence of wrongdoing. It's akin to me going out and robbing a bank and then demanding that all witnesses be silenced and all security camera contents be witheld as evidence. It's just flat out ridiculous.

Also, on the one hand, they are saying that these photos are nothing new, stuff we've all seen before but somehow if they are released, they will put our armed forces at dire risk (as if the occupation and slaughter of innocents wasn't enough for this). It sounds to me like the government is neck deep in warcrimes and wishes to supress any evidence that could be used to prosecute people.

Posted by: Pixie79 | June 9, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Also, Sovine08, you said "Truth is IF an American citizen was the mastermind behind a plot to murder 3000 innocient people and he was caught.. then he gets what he deserves... And Obama already has said he has no intention of going after the people who actually did the interogation.. so they are OUT"

Here's the rub. Obama doesn't get to make the decision whether or not to prosecute those who engaged in the torture of terror suspects. That's up to the attorney general and the justice department. I'm sure Obama would prefer that no one gets punished for wrong doing (that might have the chilling effect of preventing future wrong doing and we couldn't have that!) -- but if these photos are released by virtue of the FOIA, then the justice department will be COMPELLED by law to investigate. If there are findings in that investigation which then lead to charging people with crimes, they will ALSO be compelled to do so as that is the law. Obama does not have the power to simply dismiss the prosecution of people because he is the president and he KNOWS it.

Posted by: Pixie79 | June 9, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"You don't unclassify or release anything about your sources, methods or capabilities of your intelligence gathering. It's not a coverup, it's basic to intelligence work."

Posted by: ronjaboy | June 9, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe that this rule of thumb should apply when the intelligence operatives are breaking the law. Otherwise, the laws constraining their behavior have no meaning.

Posted by: rick_desper | June 9, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

the justice department will be COMPELLED by law to investigate. If there are findings in that investigation which then lead to charging people with crimes, they will ALSO be compelled to do so as that is the law. Obama does not have the power to simply dismiss the prosecution of people because he is the president and he KNOWS it. Posted by: Pixie79
_____
I believe you very much underestimate the power of a Presidents influence. And if the justice department is as you say "compelled" then was wasn't this done years ago??? What Bush's justice department wasn't compelled but Obama's is??? Look nobody wants this door open.. therefore it won't be. I use to figure AT WORST maybe some close door investigation with maybe a lawyer or 2 getting their hand slapped. But I don't think even that will happen now. There will be a report at some point and it will say.. no evidense of wrong doing... and the public will not know what went on behind close doors for national security reasons...


Posted by: sovine08 | June 9, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"I believe you very much underestimate the power of a Presidents influence. And if the justice department is as you say "compelled" then was wasn't this done years ago??? What Bush's justice department wasn't compelled but Obama's is??? Look nobody wants this door open.. therefore it won't be."

Oh not at all. The Obama administration knows full well that they must comply with the law. You ask why it was not done in the past 8 years? Because the Bush administration stonewalled and insulated any attempt to try and disclose these memos and/or evidence. If a court ordered the release of documents, Bush and his lawyers would request one extension after another and if finally forced to release anything, it would be heavily redacted so that you had no idea what you were looking at. They claimed the state secrets privilage. If that didn't work, outright destruction of evidence would occur before they were compelled to release it (CIA videotape destruction, millions of WH emails destroyed). Furthermore, the AG and DOJ are supposed to be be completely apolitical entities. Not so much under the Bush admin. Recent emails were released in which Bush appointee (dep. AG) Jim Comey detailed quite vividly that there was inappropriate influence of the executive branch on the DOJ and that the AG (Gonzalez) was more interested in protecting the republican party than protecting the interests of the US by adhering to the rule of law.

http://static1.firedoglake.com/28/files//2009/06/050427-comey-emails-compressed.pdf

Why do you say that no one wants this looked at? Why would anyone want to just bury or surpress evidence of things done in the name of our country? If we did something wrong, aren't we responsible for prosecuting those who deisgned and then implimented these acts? One could make an argument that our people tortured in "good faith" to protect us from further attacks. It's not a strong argument, but it's the argument that dictators around the world use for their human right's abuses. I think if we're going to say that we are a country who believes in the rule of law and protecting human rights, we can't torture and kill people in our custody. The best disinfectant is sunshine, and I would very much like to see the people responsible for this taken into account.

Posted by: Pixie79 | June 9, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

What's the most tiresome thing about discussions like this is all of the pro-secrecy proponents' arguments have been thoroughly debunked, especially by Glenn Greenwald - yet they still come as if the clear logical answer hasn't been given. Froomkin sums it up nicely: "the CIA should have thought of all this a long time ago -- ideally, before they embarked on actions whose disclosure alone would be enough to incite our enemies."

Also, an essay by Chomsky keeps coming to mind, where he lays out quite clearly an understanding: if America does it, it must be seen as good or excusable. If we violate our own laws and international treaties, the prevailing viewpoint still says it's OK simply because it's us.

It boils down to this: we are either a nation of laws or we aren't. By making people who break clear laws safe from prosecution and accountability, we have simply given up. The law is the law is the law, it is all we have to bind us together as a society, and it applies to everybody or not at all.

Posted by: guyanakoolaid | June 9, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

"You don't unclassify or release anything about your sources, methods or capabilities of your intelligence gathering. It's not a coverup, it's basic to intelligence work."

Posted by: ronjaboy | June 9, 2009 12:25 PM
------
There's a clear distinction between interrogation and torture, and it's embodied in Army Field Manual 38-52 and similar documents.

Disclosing images of inhumane behavior is not "sources & methods" especially if we are no longer going to use those methods.

That's the problem with hiding this. The presumption must be that what is not disclosed is still being used, and that it's such an affront to human decency that we can't disclose it.

I regret dredging it up, but requiring public transcripts of Monica Lewinsky was an affront to human decency, but it was publicly disclosed.

If by not disclosing Bill's BJ would the public be right to presume this behavior was still taking place? I'm sure I can find quotes from Republicans asserting that in 1998.

If we can know about Bill Clinton's BJ we can certainly deal with how we "interrogated" prisoners.

Posted by: boscobobb | June 10, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

mdsinc asks, "Will there be hearings and prosecutions?" Answer: only if demanded by the American public. And the only way this will happen is if our government does the right thing and releases this information. If we are so great a nation, we shouldn't be too embarrassed to take a good, hard look in the mirror...

Posted by: jerkhoff | June 10, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Way to stir up the Clown Posse. Is this good for your ratings?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 10, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm not impressed with protecting war criminals. The information that has already been released showed what was done, but not who exactly ordered it. Any cover up of those who are responsible demonstrates how bad the federal government under George W. and his Unka Dicky was.

If a special prosecutor is not appointed, then all this about the rule of law is feces.

Posted by: sailorflat | June 10, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Actually, since Presidemt George W. Obama has already used threats to supress evidence of torture, he has already committed a war crime, so now it's not just that he wants to prevent prosecution of Bush's war crimes, but also his own.

Posted by: dickdata | June 10, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Inane--the photos will be leaked. In what world of information dissemination are people living that they think it makes sense to suppress information? The internet makes those who advocate suppression of information pointing to law breaking by the govt. look like they do not grasp where they are in terms of the politics of communication.

Posted by: freespeechlover | June 10, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama is planning to imprison for life people not sentenced by due process of law, and, conversely, he won't prosecute people responsible for committing heinous crimes (torture) in spite of a statutory obligation to do so.

Period.

What follows is a Taliban song, but, of course, it must be understood that they're a bunch of savages; they're just not as civilized as we are.

The title of the song is "White House."


May you burn in red flames, White House
May you burst into flames and turn to ashes, White House
There is black evil in your belly, your look seeming so white
May you turn to ruins, White House

The murderers of the oppressed tribes live inside you
May you become red with their blood, White House

You are the locus of cruelty and barbarism from long ago
May you collapse to your foundations, now, White House

You took the faith away from those who loved the West
May you become the target of those who love Islam, White House

May Allah fell you like Bush
May you be plagued with Obama’s grief, White House

Published in Al-Emerah on Thursday the 29. of January 09

Posted by: cristca9 | June 10, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

McCain built his political career on the premise that he was tortured in a Vietnamese jail. His crime was that he bombed Hanoi in an undeclared war. He is lucky that the Vietnamese did not shoot him for terrorist charges, which is what we would have done to anyone who bombed New York. Now that old hypocrite has teamed up with Joe Judas Lieberman in asking the President to keep under wraps, photos of torture being conducted by our side? And we call ourselves an open society? The East German Stasi and the Nazi Gestapo would be proud of us. Shame on you McCain. As for you Judas Lieberman, you are beyond shame.

Posted by: alzach | June 11, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

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