Obama DOJ Signals It Will Continue To Fight For Bush Invocation Of "State Secrets" Privilege

Via Greenwald, the Obama Justice Department signals it will go to the Supreme Court to defend the Bush Administration's invocation of the "state secrets" privilege in the Al Haramain warrantless wiretapping case. The AP reports:

The Obama administration has lost its argument that a potential threat to national security should stop a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program. A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday rejected the Justice Department's request for an emergency stay in a case involving a defunct Islamic charity.

Yet government lawyers signaled they would continue fighting to keep the information secret, setting up a new showdown between the courts and the White House over national security.

(Emphasis supplied.) Greenwald writes:

One of the worst abuses of the Bush administration was its endless reliance on vast claims of secrecy to ensure that no court could ever rule on the legality of the President's actions. They would insist that "secrecy" prevented a judicial ruling even when the President's actions were (a) already publicly disclosed in detail and (b) were blatantly criminal -- as is the case with the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, which The New York Times described on its front page more than three years ago and which a federal statute explicitly criminalized. Secrecy claims of that sort -- to block judicial review of the President's conduct, i.e., to immunize the President from the rule of law -- provoked endless howls of outrage from Bush critics.

Yet now, the Obama administration is doing exactly the same thing. Hence, it is accurately deemed "a blow to the Obama administration" that a court might rule on whether George Bush broke the law when eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. Why is the Obama administration so vested in preventing that from happening, and -- worse still -- in ensuring that Presidents continue to have the power to invoke extremely broad secrecy claims in order to block courts from ruling on allegations that a President has violated the law?

I have no adequate answers to Glenn's questions. The Obama Administration's behavior on this matter is simply indefensible.

Speaking for me only

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    What Are They Thinking? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:46:22 AM EST
    This defies all logic, as did the Jeppesen case. Time for the press corps to do their job, and the rest of us to write and call the WH and our congresscritters.

    I'm With You (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by daring grace on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:50:08 PM EST
    I won't be satisfied just hearing Holder explain this. Obama himself has to step up now and explicitly define this policy of his administration.

    I'm angry and disappointed but maybe not completely surprised, because of his dueling comments before and after his FISA switch:

    Before, in the primaries:

    "I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty."

    After, as he voted for the bill:

    ""Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor the program," Obama said in a statement hours after the House approved the legislation 293-129."


    Yes indeed. Writing to Sen. Feinstein (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:59:21 AM EST
    has yielded zero positive results so far re warrantless wiretapping.  

    Are You Suggesting (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:08:35 PM EST
    That we should just let it go?

    No. (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:13:00 PM EST
    They are thinking (none / 0) (#49)
    by lambert on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:20:12 PM EST
    that they want to rationalize and consolidate Bush's authoritarian gains.

    Nobody could have predicted...


    Doubt It (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:49:25 PM EST
    BushCo gains are Obama losses. IOW on the face of it Obama stands more to gain by repudiating the BushCo secrecy model and pushing the sunlight disinfectant model. I do not see Obama doing this as a power grab, or an effort to luxuriate in BushCo excesses.

    My guess is that there is some really dark sh*t that will bring a lot of people down, and they are not all GOPers. Best not to open the BushCo closet if possible, too many liabilities for the US.


    You don't think (none / 0) (#61)
    by lilburro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:42:45 PM EST
    that maybe just a little, Obama likes the state secrets privilege?  For whatever reason he is doing it, he does not mind casting a cloak over things from his perch in the executive.  I wouldn't assume he's just doing it to cover some Congressional @sses.  After all, who would've been hurt by Mohamed et. al. v. Jeppesen going forward?  Anybody in Congress?  I doubt it.  Boeing bosses?  Oh yes.

    Like It For What? (none / 0) (#62)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:50:30 PM EST
    Covering up crimes of his political enemies? It just does not make sense, imo. If the Obama admin was involved in war crimes, I do not think for a second that he would pull state secret bs, but this is not his coverup.

    IOW, I do not see how allowing the jeppeson suit to proceed, stops him in any way from claiming state secret, executive this and that, to cover up his own administration's future crimes.


    correction (none / 0) (#63)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:52:28 PM EST
     If the Obama admin was involved in war crimes, I do not think for a second that he would hesitate to pull state secret bs, but this is not his coverup.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#64)
    by lilburro on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:59:35 AM EST
    his administration has been open about their interest in continuing the practice of rendition.  You'll need someone to fly the planes, even if they aren't flying to a country with a known torture record.  And they will be breaking international law when they do fly kidnapped detainees.  Maybe he is trying to stabilize those business relationships...really, beats me.

    IMO, the Obama DoJ is trying to micromanage everything that has to do with Bush crimes.  I know they are studying the Yoo/Bybee memos, among others, and determining exactly how awful they were.  This of course is good.  There are many people who are not looking to a DoJ internal investigaton for closure though, but instead are looking to the courts.  Duh!  My feeling is that the DoJ wants to handle the Bush stuff on its own terms, at its own speed, which is impossible and unfair to the victims of Bush policies.  I think there's way too much of a media strategy going on here.


    Rendition (none / 0) (#66)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 02:41:07 PM EST
    Is nothing new, secret rendition with torture is out. Big dif.

    Once Dawn Johnsen is in and the rest of Obama's pics, perhaps we will notice a difference.

    From her confirm hearing wed:

    In fact, Johnsen's sternest reprimand of the day comes from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who warns that the problems of the last eight years were caused because the OLC "went far to the right" and cautions that she does not want the office "to go that far left" on Johnsen's watch. (Hard even to imagine what the left-leaning parallel to John Yoo's OLC might look like. Daily yoga drills? Forced huggings for enemy combatants?)

    "You have been an activist," intones Feinstein. "You said when you go in that door you will give all that up. Can you do that?" And Johnsen, sounding like she's an inpatient at some exclusive advocacy rehab center in Utah, is forced to repeat, again and again, that her mission at the OLC is to adhere to and promote the rule of law.


    What a loser, she needs to go, Feinstein that is.


    rendition may not be new (none / 0) (#67)
    by lilburro on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 03:55:42 PM EST
    but it remains illegal under international law.

    Really? (none / 0) (#68)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 03:58:54 PM EST
    I do not believe that is true. Extraordinary rendition is illegal, not plain old rendition.

    Rendition, in law, is a transfer of persons from one jurisdiction to another, and the act of handing over, both after legal proceedings and according to law. Extraordinary rendition, however, is that which is outside the law.



    it is my understanding (none / 0) (#71)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 08:15:25 AM EST
    that the type of rendition that the Obama team remains interested in doing is extraordinary or extrajudicial.  I don't think they've limited themselves from kidnapping someone without the explicit permission of the country the suspect is in.

    Maybe they will make a policy that restricts that.  But I kind of doubt it.  Why would the US pick someone up (in non-US territory aka country A) with the purpose of sending them to another country (aka country B) if they felt country A's law enforcement was doing a swell job?


    Panetta Says Otherwise Rather Explicitly (none / 0) (#72)
    by daring grace on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 12:29:29 PM EST
    It's not the familiar "The United States does not torture." comment.

    Rather, he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee:

    "...that President Barack Obama forbids what Panetta called "that kind of extraordinary rendition - when we send someone for the purpose of torture or actions by another country that violate our human values."

    This piece from Harper's magazine calling out the LA Times depiction of renditions, extraordinary and otherwise seems to make the same point about the distinctions.


    I am not talking about (none / 0) (#73)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 12:45:50 PM EST
    rendition to torture - that is not the only kind of extraordinary rendition.  As you quote, Panetta rules out "rendition to torture" but not all other kinds of extraordinary rendition.

    CIA folks are NOT on trial in Italy because they rendered Abu Omar to torture - they are on trial for kidnapping.  They could've rendered him to Ibiza for a bender and they would still be on trial for kidnapping in Italy.  

    Horton's article acknowledges that there are other legal issues and there certainly are.  For ex (from Valtin):

    MICHAEL RATNER: Yeah, 2006, two years ago, by the Bush administration as a way of saying, "Well, we can treat enemy combatants differently than prisoners of war." It ought to be gotten rid of. You ought to close the CIA's [inaudible] hole. You ought to get rid of Annex M.

    And then, I think the issues you're raising about rendition versus extraordinary rendition--you know, I think it has to end. Rendition has to end. Rendition is a violation of sovereignty. It's a kidnapping. It's force and violence. And let's put it in another situation. Let's say we were planning at some point to attack Iran. Could Iran have come in here and kidnapped the people planning the attack on Iran? Could we tomorrow go down to Cuba and kidnap Assata Shakur, who is--you know, escaped a murder charge out of New Jersey? Could we do that? Could Cuba come here tomorrow and take Posada out of Florida, the man who blew up the airliner, killing seventy-six people? Once you open the door to rendition, you're opening the door, essentially, to all lawless world. I don't accept that.

    AMY GOODMAN: Scott Horton, why not end rendition?

    SCOTT HORTON: Well, I think there has been an historical rule for rendition. My own view is that it's acceptable only in really extraordinary cases. I mean, we look at the case involving Eichmann right after the end of World War II, who was seized when he was in Argentina and brought back to be tried. That's an example of a rendition which I think can be justified.

    But I think these cases really are quite rare. I mean, Michael is correct to point to the fact that many governments are going to view snatching a person and carrying him away as a kidnapping. That's a criminal act. And the government should really refrain from that. We see already in Italy, we see twenty-six Americans--CIA agents, diplomats, a military attaché--being tried for kidnapping and conspiracy there because of their implementation of the extraordinary renditions program. And it's ---

    AMY GOODMAN: Meaning they took a sheikh off the streets of Milan, they kidnapped him and took him away. They flew him where? To Egypt?


    SCOTT HORTON: Well, first he was taken ---

    AMY GOODMAN: Where he was tortured.

    SCOTT HORTON: --- to Majorca, but ultimately he wound up in Egypt, that's correct, yeah.

    AMY GOODMAN: And they're being tried in absentia.

    SCOTT HORTON: They're being tried in --- I mean, it looks pretty clearly they'll be convicted. I mean, it's a major embarrassment for the United States. [emphasis supplied by me]

    I have not seen Obama promise that we will only deal with terrorists in terms of strictly following the legal process of extradition.  I think the "front end," so to speak, of the process will remain the same - abduction.  

    If he follows through on his committment not to render to torture, that will be admirable.  But snatching people is still a big legal risk, and so whoever is helping out in that endeavor probably wants to make sure their @sses are quite covered.


    IOW (none / 0) (#74)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 12:57:14 PM EST
    a rendition becomes "extraordinary" if it falls outside normal legal procedures.  So...

    rendering to torture is illegal - doing so makes a rendition "extraordinary."

    taking a suspect into US custody from their place in country A without involving the judiciary of country A is illegal (abuduction) - doing so makes a rendition "extraordinary."


    Yes (none / 0) (#75)
    by daring grace on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 01:23:37 PM EST
    Googling around on this term, I understand my confusion because the word 'extraordinary' seems to be widely used to refer to both sending prisoners to countries for legal process or for torture.

    Either way, and no matter how long the U.S. has been engaging in these extra-legal grabs of suspects, I'd like to see the Obama administration discuss at length the reasoning behind continuing the outside-of-extradition transfers of people to other countries.


    yeah (none / 0) (#76)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 01:43:12 PM EST
    when someone uses the phrase "extraordinary rendition" it's often unclear what they mean because the phrase isn't very narrowly defined.  

    scribe wrote an awesome diary on rendition a while ago.  


    We'll See (none / 0) (#77)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:08:49 PM EST
    I am sure you have read Greenwald on this, if not it is worth a look.

    And Horton before the interview you quote. Here is the whole interview between Horton and Ratner at Democracy now.

    President Clinton evidentially started the contemporary slippery slope of rendition,  but rendition of various forms have been practiced for a long time.

    Essentially Ratner Argues that rendition in any form should be outlawed, and Horton argues that it has a place.

    One thing for sure, imo, is that the excessive and flagrant abuses of BushCo are over. At worst we may be moving back to a Clinton era slippery slope.

    I would be happiest to do away with rendition period. We'll see how it plays out in practice with this new administration


    if we can truly stop (none / 0) (#78)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:32:13 PM EST
    rendition to torture, I will be happy.  But what's worrying is that secret abductions and transfers are going to be difficult for the public to follow.  What assurances is Panetta receiving?  Where are we taking our suspects?  Even Obama's admin is going to be reluctant to give up that kind of information in the name of transparency.  I guess we could depend on the Senate Intelligence Committee but their track record is ...ugh.

    Other very anti-rendition resources are here:

    Amnesty International.

    Valtin @ Invictus.  A quote from that piece:

    If you are enforcing your New World Order, I suppose you don't care about friendly cooperation between states. But how would Americans react if Afghanis kidnapped Bush or Cheney for crimes and brought them back to Afghanistan for trial, or even more to the point, delivered them over to the North Koreans for interrogation? Or how about Cubans kidnapping Luis Posada Carriles, who bombed Cubana flight 455 in September 1976 (with CIA foreknowledge, by the way), and today resides in the U.S.? Why not just junk all treaties and let the rule of might makes right the ultimate arbiter?

    When Abraham Sofaer, Legal Adviser of the State Department, was questioned at a congressional hearing, he resisted the notion that such seizures were acceptable: " `Can you imagine us going into Paris and seizing some person we regard as a terrorist . . .? [H]ow would we feel if some foreign nation--let us take the United Kingdom--came over here and seized some terrorist suspect in New York City, or Boston, or Philadelphia, . . . because we refused through the normal channels of international, legal communications, to extradite that individual?' " Bill To Authorize Prosecution of Terrorists and Others Who Attack U. S. Government Employees and Citizens Abroad: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 99th Cong., 1st Sess., 63 (1985).

    Well See (none / 0) (#79)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:36:17 PM EST
    As I said, I think we are scaling back to the Clinton era regarding renditions.

    In terms of worrying that there is a secret government that is acting to maintain BushCo excesses or expand them, it seems unwarranted to me. May as well decide that Obama is a secret Nazi preparing to gas all white people, of course all in secret.


    there are many (none / 0) (#80)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:40:27 PM EST
    in the leadership ranks of the CIA who have no problem with rendition to torture and if called upon to give advice as to whether it is wise would likely say yes.  So it's always good IMO to keep an eye on what the CIA is doing and what it is telling us it is doing.

    Your comparison of "maintaining Bush excesses" to a holocaust of white people is strange considering the title of this post is "Obama DOJ Signals It Will Continue To Fight For Bush Invocation Of "State Secrets" Privilege."  Are you telling me to be afraid, be very afraid?


    Quite The Opposite (none / 0) (#81)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:49:37 PM EST
    I think we need to keep an careful eye on this administration, particularly the CIA, and DOJ, but I do not believe that Obama will be any worse than Clinton.

    My analogy was meant to address your paradoxical fear that there may be bad things going on in the future by Obama that we will either never find out about, or find out about after it is too late.

    That is no way to live, imo. But everyone must choose their own path.

    I prefer to keep a watchful eye and scream bloody murder when I see something bad. Preemptive fear, seems a waste of energy, imo.


    I think Obama will be better than Clinton (none / 0) (#83)
    by lilburro on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:24:16 PM EST
    on rendition issues...Clinton rendered to Egypt after all.  

    The quibble I have with rendition & the Obama administration in particular is that I'd like to see them demonstrate their committment to avoiding countries with seriously bad torture track records (Syria, Egypt, Morocco, etc.)  To say that we will not render suspects to those countries, period.  That would be a huge improvement over Clinton (and Bush, goes without saying).  But here is the policy right now:

    Monterey Herald

    QUESTION: Could you talk to us a little bit about the Obama rendition program? You said that you'll continue doing it, but your focus will be on, you know, making sure that nothing bad happens to the prisoners once they are handed over. That's always been the U.S. policy. How will what you all do be different? And, can you talk to us a little bit about the problem that we're seeing more and more, which is people who have been rendered to other countries and released and are returning to the battlefield? And can you tell us if any prisoners are ever going back to Gitmo while it's still open? If not, where they're going.

    DIR. PANETTA: All right, let me start -- (chuckles).

    DIR. PANETTA: Please, thank you. (Chuckles.) First of all, on the rendition issue: Obviously, the executive order that was issued by the President sets, you know, the ground rules for dealing with that issue. Number one, we are obligated to follow the Army Field Manual, and we will do that. Secondly, we are closing black sites, and we are doing that. And thirdly, rendition is still permitted, but obviously -- and it's been used in the past to obviously send people to countries where there are jurisdictional issues for purposes of trying individuals. If we render someone, we are obviously going to seek assurances from that country that their human rights are protected and that they are not mistreated. And we are going to make very sure that that does not happen. Well, I guess, you know, A, make sure, first of all, the kind of countries that we render will tell us an awful lot about that, number one. Number two, I think diplomatically we just have to make sure that we have a presence to ensure that that does not happen. [emphasis supplied]

    On this issue I am willing to wait.  They will eventually make their policy clearer.  But what Panetta says here is not different from what Clinton-era officials said.  You can't render to a country like Egypt and truly expect the human rights of the detainee to be preserved.  If you can, I'd like to know how.  To render to Egypt and expect a non-torture result seems like Einstein's definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    I hope we can show Obama that our eyes are wide-open now and our expectations are higher - we know enough about rendition to call him out if he restores aspects of the rendition to torture programs of the past.  If he is looking simply for plausible deniability on the issue of rendition to torture, he doesn't have a lot of room to move.  Because we know - rendering to Egypt is BS.  We have heard it all before.  If he does that, he will draw a lot of fire.  

    So I look forward to seeing more details about his rendition policy.


    We'll See (none / 0) (#84)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:27:48 PM EST
    But what Panetta says here is not different from what Clinton-era officials said.  
    Nor what BushCo said.  

    Two possibilities: (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:43:46 PM EST
    1. There really is a BIG secret that, once briefed by the security agencies, a "reasonable person" would follow the Bush/Obama path.


    2. With all best intentions going in, once experiencing  what raw power tastes like, Obama said, "I like that; gimme some more."  

    Door number two... (none / 0) (#22)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:45:56 PM EST
    Aw Right, Monte (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:59:02 PM EST
    Tell Mr. Pro and our studio audience what "Old" wins if door #2 is correct.....

     1. An indefinate stay at the luxurious "Rendition Ramada?"

     2. A once-in-a-lifetime reunion with Houdini in the Land of the "Disappeared?"


    3. Relegated to Librul Fringedom when Hannity asks, "Why do you hate America so?"


    A la Slumdog, (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:06:41 PM EST
    OldPro has a stay at local police station.  How could you, a mere citizen, have known the answer to that question?

    uh, uh (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:17:56 PM EST
    it was a joke....really

    I was just kidding...you gotta believe me



    Nah...no begging. (none / 0) (#33)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:23:23 PM EST
    Gulp (none / 0) (#39)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 02:18:19 PM EST
    Allahu Akbar!

    takbir. (none / 0) (#40)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 02:38:10 PM EST

    And from Mohammed's (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 02:57:34 PM EST
    Little know, estranged, second cousin (on his wife's side,) Hymie Lipschitz.....

    Shalom  ;)


    Cheers! to Hymie and all (none / 0) (#46)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:58:11 PM EST
    his friends and relatives.

    (Clap, clap, clap).


    Um....Ms. or Mrs. Pro (none / 0) (#48)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:03:13 PM EST
    (I was shockingly ahead of my time).

    And this old coot.. (none / 0) (#52)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:44:14 PM EST
    is still a shockingly, unthinking, sexist, slut.

    My apologies, Sir.....er, Ms/Mrs.



    Yeh, but still mainstream... (none / 0) (#54)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 06:06:20 PM EST
    Hmmm....an old coot AND a slut!  I've definitely got to get out more.

    There's a secret (none / 0) (#35)
    by wurman on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:31:06 PM EST
    The "methods and operations" used in the eavesdropping may (or will or could) be compromised.  I've both read & been told that it is uncommonly simple & can be easily subterfuged if the "enemies" know how it's done.

    Too many commenters are thinking in terms of operatives attaching alligator clips to mechanical communication lines & hooking up to a tape recorder.  It ain't that way now.

    I don't know what the technical method is, but have become generally aware of some aspects about it.  ALL "communications" are captured.  That's where the FISA thingee comes in as to the sense of whether gathering a form of communication without reading it or hearing it comprises a 4th amendment violation [i.e., they take all the "letters" to a warehouse & "hold" them, but either don't open any & actually deliver them a very short time later; or they get a warrant, often after the fact, & open only Joe's letters].  Except now they're dealing mostly with internet traffic & telephone calls, etc.  

    [Do you recall when law enforcement used to snivel about not being able to get a warrant & tap cell phones because of the technical complexity??? Heard that complaint lately?  Do you think Blagojevich was talking to Rahm Emmanuel on a landline?]

    Some technical experts are convinced that the statements in open court may very likely expose enough data to reveal both what is done & how it's achieved.

    Not good.  It's worthy of a review.


    It's hard for me to believe (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Steve M on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:35:21 PM EST
    that court proceedings could not be structured to accommodate security concerns of that type.

    Especially when the plaintiffs (none / 0) (#42)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 02:49:58 PM EST
    have already seen the document in question - the world hasn't ended as a result of that happening has it?

    Seems to me that the Obama Administration wants to hold onto power which is pretty much par for the course with every administration.


    Apparently the document (none / 0) (#58)
    by wurman on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:07:21 PM EST
    does not demonstrate methods & operations--it's just a transcript, right?

    US Attorney Fitzgerald released recordings of Blagojevich phone calls, but no one knows how they were captured.


    I don't know what the document (none / 0) (#60)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:55:11 PM EST
    says other than it seems to offer evidence of the act for which the government is being sued.  But the world hasn't ended even though it was apparently reviewed by civilians.  It is ridiculous to think that the judicial branch would not have access to that document imo.

    Old, dead thread, but . . . (none / 0) (#85)
    by wurman on Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 03:12:59 PM EST
    . . . it took some time for me to ferret out this information on the document.
    From Wired, Mar 5, 2007 (2 years ago!!!)
    On Aug. 20, 2004, fellow Al-Haramain attorney Lynne Bernabei noticed one of the documents from Treasury was marked "top secret." Bernabei gave the document to attorneys and directors at Al-Haramain's Saudi Arabia headquarters, and gave a copy to Belew. The document was a log of phone conversations Belew and co-counsel Asim Ghafoor had held with a Saudi-based director for the charity named Soliman al-Buthi.

    Apparently, some person in the Treasury Dept. gave this "allegedly" classified list of phone calls that had been subjected to surveillance to the plaintiff's attorney.

    A copy was given to a Washington Post reporter.  And the attorney for Belew & Ghafoor submitted a copy from Saudi Arabia as proof that his clients had their conversations recorded.  So there are still copies somewhere in the Middle East.

    This phone log is less worthy of classification than Bu$h xliii's Air Force One itineraries.

    It's a joke.


    I wish that view had prevailed (none / 0) (#57)
    by wurman on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:05:00 PM EST
    when LtCol O. North was pending trial.  His stuff was waaaaaay too secret for open court.

    I suspect (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:02:45 PM EST
    it's a little of both.

    And Gates wants whistleblowers to continue (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:09:38 PM EST
    to get the whole shaft too.  What a wide open door for Shenanigans to take place in Afghanistan.

    Depressing. (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:15:28 PM EST
    Why? (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:50:35 PM EST
    Obama voted for the renewal of the patriot act.
    He doesn't want to pursue justice for the American people against the abuses of the Bush regime.
    Why? Because he identifies with them.

    My question would be... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 03:06:13 PM EST
    Has he always, or only as his election was assured and/or upon taking office?

    The FISA thing is troubling not because a politician merely flip-flopped, but his support of repeal during the primaries was unequivocal; "I will LEAD the filibuster........."


    No, no, no. He sd. he would (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 06:31:16 PM EST
    "support a filibuster."  (Italics added.)

    Either way (none / 0) (#59)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:25:54 PM EST
    "support" or "lead" --- he did neither.

    My feeling (none / 0) (#55)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 06:20:06 PM EST
    is that Obama does not hold any core principles.

    Remember how quickly the Bush DOJ (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:10:42 AM EST
    let Microsoft off the hook after the 2000 election?

    This is the case discussed in (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:17:34 AM EST
    LA Times link I posted last night.

    It is the Al Haramain case (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:25:10 AM EST
    You misdescribed the result.

    I also made a mistake in THIS post (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:28:46 AM EST
    I originally referenced the Jeppesen rendtion case, which is also a states secrets case. Thisd is about warrantless wiretapping of the Al Haramain Foundation.

    Obama DOJ requested (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:39:47 AM EST
    case.  9th Circuit Court of Appeals didn't do it.  How did I misdescribe the result?

    As I rerad your comment (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:43:15 AM EST
    You stated that Obama requested dismissal granted by the 9th Cir.

    It was the Plaintiffs who sought dismissal of the appeal granted by the 9th Cir.

    Obama Administration sought appeal of Judge Walker's January 5, 2009 order (wherein he rruled FISA preempts the common law state secrets privilege. Obama will likely argue to the SCOTUS that state secrets privilege is CONSTITUTIONAL in nature and thus no subject to Congresional preemption.)


    Guess I'll leave it to Greenwald. (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:53:07 AM EST
    Fine, understandable legal writer.

    Oooh (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:54:09 AM EST
    a nasty swipe at yours truly.

    Guess you didn't like my "opera" video.


    Not really. You usually take (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:55:55 AM EST
    a broader overview, but not always.  Then you get all those kudos for writing "legal."

    Again, Obama is adopting the Bush way (none / 0) (#8)
    by dualdiagnosis on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:51:52 AM EST
    Hey, maybe there is something to the way Bush did things?

    AP reports President Obama (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:00:24 PM EST
    called former President George W. Bush before Obama announced his plan re U.S. military in Iraq.  Why--did he want his opinion/blessing?

    'As A Courtesy' (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by daring grace on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:54:00 PM EST
    According to the AP

    He also called Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki.


    C'mon...all presidents (none / 0) (#24)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:50:16 PM EST
    do this...call to alert a former president when stepping on their turf in any major way.  It's a courtesy call.

    You and the AP may think that's news.  It's not.


    It was news to me. (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:55:38 PM EST
    Stepping on his turf? (none / 0) (#28)
    by dualdiagnosis on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:04:34 PM EST
    The SOFA was already in place, Obama's timeline is based on what Bush negotiated.

    Yes. Exactly so. (none / 0) (#34)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:30:58 PM EST
    "Stepping on his turf' doesn't have to mean a change in policy...it's just a headsup about an announcement, whether there will be a big change or not.

    Such courtesy calls are a time-honored way of keeping 'formers' in the loop and off the back of the current officeholder.  

    Wise officials at every level (local, state, federal) practice this behavior.  Those who don't will often suffer a lot of unnecessary political grief.


    So I'm sure Obama called Bush (none / 0) (#37)
    by dualdiagnosis on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 01:42:13 PM EST
    and let him know that he was going to be implementing cap and trade and that the bust of Churchill was being sent back.

    Heh. Prob'ly not. (none / 0) (#41)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 02:42:53 PM EST
    Maybe Michelle will call Laura tho!

    Inconsistencies (none / 0) (#15)
    by Saul on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:11:09 PM EST
    Cannot understand how one day Obama is doing his best at overturning Bush policy then the next day he doing everything to defend some of Bush's policies.

    He ran against Bush to be 180 degrees from what he was.  How do you explain Obama's inconsistencies.

    Keeping what works for him? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oldpro on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:44:11 PM EST
    Power he's banking in case he wants to use it.

    No, he didn't (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by lambert on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:23:40 PM EST
    Some voters may have THOUGHT that Obama "against Bush to be 180 degrees from what he was" but they weren't listening or watching carefully.

    Obama's vote for FISA [cough] reform, which granted retroactive immunity to the telcos for their role in Bush's illegal warrantless surveillance, should have undeceived anyone who was paying attention.


    That's just it - many voters weren't (none / 0) (#65)
    by allimom99 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:46:21 AM EST
    paying attention to anything that didn't fit in with their own views. Then they attributed all these views to Obama. After 8 years of BushCo, lots of people heard 'change,' and acted without asking WHAT the change was going to look like. Alas, wishing it so doesn't make it so.

    Scared, cautious, indecisive? (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:13:47 PM EST
    Is it reasonable (none / 0) (#18)
    by joanneleon on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:38:56 PM EST
    to expect that we'll hear some kind of explanation from Obama or his admin. on this soon?  I am really, really uncomfortable about this.  So much that reading about it brings that knot and queasiness that for me, is usually a very accurate predictor.

    Not being a legal expert, I have been reading and hoping to find some possible good reason for this.  The closest thing I've come up with is that presidents tend to finish out legal issues from a predecessor using the same strategy, argumetns, etc.  But in this case, that reasoning makes no sense.

    I think that Obama owes us an explanation, and soon.

    As Jr. Senator from IL, Obama (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 12:44:20 PM EST
    voted for FISA revise, giving telecomms immunity for warrantless wiretapping.  Was that his explanation for his DOJ claiming state secrets prevented this lawsuit from going forward?

    Pact with the devil (none / 0) (#45)
    by pluege on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 04:55:47 PM EST
    Taxing the income of the rich a couple more percent pales in comparison to the plutocracy's primary goal: undoing the Constitution. Obama gets to play progressive (most of what he proposes won't pass anywhere near what it is) as long as he protects "the great leap forward" the plutocracy made under bush in eviscerating the Constitution. The FISA capitulation was Obama's signal that he go to bat for the plutocracy.

    And if that signal wasn't powerful enough (none / 0) (#51)
    by lambert on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 05:24:53 PM EST
    then working the phones for The Big Give with TARP 1 should have been.

    Bush's legacy "The Limbaugh Limbo" (none / 0) (#69)
    by joze46 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 09:22:51 PM EST
    Watching Limbaugh, on Fox news. It would be fascinating to see if O'reilly gives a body language analysis like he does with Democrats. Not gona happen huh? The whole thing with Limbaugh is interesting for me anyway. I marvel at the how Limbaugh accomplished such a following.

    This audience filled with what looks like a wide spectrum in age and gender getting up applauding as Limbaugh makes an emotional comment that for me makes no sense. Giving the audience the appearance and spice of a national win but sinking in popularity whether or not the economy gets better. The convention of CPAC also giving the impression of unity coordination and intelligent political curtsey when avoiding the years of hate mongering that I endured and witnessed over the years listening to Limbaugh's radio telecasts. Especially some of ABC radio associates who openly called being Liberal a disease, yet in his speech exclaim Conservatives have been reaching out. Sheesh, wildly funny in psychotic way.  

    Limbaugh just skipping over the years of insults and personal characterizations that did nothing more than smear, slander, through the shield of free speech always weaseling behind as a  person of entertainment that jokes around a little to juxtaposition bias and hate in a contextual slant that just ridicules Democrats.

    Every time Limbaugh mentioned "The Media" as if he was not part of it made me laugh and giggle for hours. For me, what America is witness to is a party, the Republican Party that is a mess. As for me, the longer Limbaugh stays on the air the more the Republican Party will diminish with that huge spectrum of his following openly welcoming universal health care knowing the need is necessary from the abuse of political culture they once followed. LOL.      

    Out with the old in with the new (none / 0) (#70)
    by Dazzle on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 07:32:30 AM EST
    Bush was a moron, at least the new President relates with the people of America.

    Fast Weight Loss

    Meet the new boss (none / 0) (#82)
    by nottheone on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 03:14:01 PM EST
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.