Will Obama Continue Bush Block Of Wiretapping Cases?

Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, who broke the warrantless wiretapping story for the NYTimes (and justly earned the Pulitzer Prize), raise an important question:

President-elect Barack Obama will face a series of early decisions on domestic spying that will test his administration’s views on presidential power and civil liberties. The Justice Department will be asked to respond to motions in legal challenges to the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program, and must decide whether to continue the tactics used by the Bush administration — which has used broad claims of national security and “state secrets” to try to derail the challenges — or instead agree to disclose publicly more information about how the program was run.

More . . .

This is why John Brennan is an issue:

When he takes office, Mr. Obama will inherit greater power in domestic spying power than any other new president in more than 30 years, but he may find himself in an awkward position as he weighs how to wield it. As a presidential candidate, he condemned the N.S.A. operation as illegal, and threatened to filibuster a bill that would grant the government expanded surveillance powers and provide immunity to phone companies that helped in the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants. But Mr. Obama switched positions and ultimately supported the measure in the Senate, angering liberal supporters who accused him of bowing to pressure from the right.

Advisers to Mr. Obama appear divided over whether he should push forcefully to investigate the operations of the wiretapping program, which was run in secret from September 2001 until December 2005.

Where do you think John Brennan stands on it? Talk about a conflict of interest. But no breathless Josh Marshall posts about THAT.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    I don't see how (none / 0) (#1)
    by lilburro on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:25:50 AM EST
    someone like Brennan, who has talked up McConnell and Hayden, and of course his former boss Tenet, can be head of CIA.  If he is, do you think we're going to get a torture commission/investigation?  My answer:  NO.

    This guy seems to think Brennan will get the CIA job.  I have no idea who he is though.

    Barring unforeseen Washington politicking at the last minute, John Brennan is being announced later today as President-elect Obama's choice to replace Mike Hayden as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    I've just learned that fact, not from an intelligence colleague, or a secret spy-alumni network, but from an email from a reporter.  There was no embargo on the information, nor a request to keep it confidential, so... there you go.  

    Ambinder has more concrete details - here.  

    On Friday, after he was announced as an agency review team member for Barack Obama,
    John O. Brennan submitted his resignation from INSA, an intelligence community and industry think tank; he had been the group's chairman since 2007.

    An associate of Brennan's said that he has also stepped down -- perhaps temporarily -- from his position as CEO of the The Analysis Corporation (TAC), a national security and counterterrorism contractor.

    This looks like it is going to happen.

    What? No vetting? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:30:18 AM EST
    Vetting is only for spouses, these days. (none / 0) (#3)
    by ThatOneVoter on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:35:42 AM EST
    Why vet? (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:37:01 AM EST
    Nothing to see here:

    At the Analysis Corp. (TAC), a government contractor run by one of Tenet's closest former advisors at the CIA, Tenet is a member of an advisory board that is helping TAC expand its thriving business designing the problematic terrorist watch lists used by the National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department.

    I know the answer already (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:37:25 AM EST
    Go read my new diary "The Three Word Question" and you'll know, too.

    It's not Brennan (none / 0) (#6)
    by koshembos on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:50:01 AM EST
    The decision is totally Obama's. He can review what is going on now (probably way more than we know) and leave calls to limited sources and destination. He can also cancel the program.

    My guess is that he'll pretend to do the first and will do nothing not to anger hawks.

    Hey BTD (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 11:56:21 AM EST
    Looks like Democracy Now did a broadcast devoted to Brennan last night.  Melvin Goodman weighs in on Brennan, transcript here.  Pretty good stuff.  


    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, it's extremely, extremely disturbing. When you read Jane Mayer's book, the worst and most onerous chapter is the chapter on what the CIA did to people in secret sites, from small coffins to waterboarding. John Brennan was there at the time. To hear him say that this stuff works is really--or that it's very important to do is really remarkable. He's saying that at the same time when we know about the Center's client, Maher Arar, being sent to Syria, tortured, so-called diplomatic assurances somehow able to protect him. Another Guantanamo people--other Guantanamo people sent to Egypt with the worst kind of torture. So, the idea that Brennan, who should probably, along with Tenet, be facing some kind of war crimes trial, is actually heading the transition on this is extremely disturbing.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 12:54:54 PM EST