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October 04, 2011

So how's 'the most transparent White House in history' faring?

In yesterday's post I wrote about an anonymous government official who said that the justice department had prepared a secret memo saying that Obama's order to murder Anwar al-Awlaki was legal but they refused to release it or reveal the reasoning.

David Shipler and Conor Friedersdorf pose the obvious question: Why is this document secret?

The usual arguments for secrecy, that it will put some people in harm's way or impinge on their privacy rights or reveal some critical government information that would be harmful to the country's national interests clearly do not apply in this case. This is presumably a legal document that would be of interest mainly to scholars. So why not tell us how the government arrived at the important conclusion that Obama can order the death of any US citizen without any oversight by any body?

The only answer that I can think of is that the government is afraid that legal scholars will rip their argument to shreds and that it will be seen to have no merit. Much better for them to keep it secret, using the "If we reveal this information, the terrorists will have won" mantra that seems to inexplicably satisfy so many people.

During his 2008 presidential campaign Obama promised that his administration would "run the most transparent White House in history" and some commentators even wondered if such excessive transparency might be a bad thing. It is clear that that worry is unfounded because that promise has turned out to be a joke. Obama is making even the Bush White House seem like a glass house.

UPDATE: Scott Horton rips apart the Obama hypocrisy on this issue. The exchange between Jake Tapper and White House press secretary is quite incredible.

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Comments

Other than Cheney's self-indulgent knife-twisting, the silence from the Republican party - those putative defenders of our constitutional liberties - is deafening, isn't it?

And how gloriously ironic that it is Russian Television - operating right here - that now does such a fine job exposing America's real nature.

Posted by Richard Frost on October 4, 2011 10:21 PM