Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Froomkin on Obama’s lack of transparency and penchant for secrecy

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Froomkin is at the Washington Post for the rest of this month, and this morning he has an excellent column on how Obama is clinging to Bush’s secrecy apparatus. (BTW, Krugman has a good comment on Froomkin’s firing.) Froomkin writes:

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: …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 June 2009 at 10:04 am

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