The Hill: Obama Considering Use Of Executive Order To Block Detainee Photos

Transparency you can believe in:

The Obama administration is looking at using an executive order to block the release of photos documenting the abuse of U.S. military detainees, said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. "I have reason to believe they are looking at that as a way to resolve this situation," Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday.

Funny, President Obama refuses to use an Executive Order to stop military discharges of gay and lesbian soldiers.

Speaking for me only

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    He's busy! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:01:29 PM EST
    Come on, how many executive orders do you think the guy can write at the same time?

    Can a EO overturn a codified law? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Idearc on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    Is there any authority or opinion saying a President can overturn a law passed by Congress with an Executive Order?

    Look it up.


    Which law? FOIA? Or DADT? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:07:46 PM EST
    No response to the question (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:15:44 PM EST
    As the commenter is in his first day at Talk Left and we have a limit on the number of comments a new commenter can make.

    BTW (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:08:12 PM EST
    As I told you, you comments are used up as a first day user.

    No more until tomorrow.


    I deleted your comments (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:14:41 PM EST
    because you have exceeded your first day limit.

    As I said, come back tomorrow.


    Well, what's the use of having all (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:11:36 PM EST
    that power if you can't find ways to use it?  What the heck - maybe they were just in the mood, having just refused to release the WH visitor logs.

    Every day brings more proof that this was the wrong person for the job; as much as I felt that way almost from the beginning of his run, I had no idea just how bad it was going to be, and how quickly it would happen.

    Makes me feel sick inside.

    More Oba-parency (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:55:07 PM EST
    He's also blocking CREW's access to the White House visitor list:


    The more things "change" the more they remain like Bush.

    I honestly thought ... (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Yman on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:21:31 PM EST
    ... I would get more satisfaction from saying 'I told you so" to all the bots who attacked the Clintons during the primary, but it's really starting to get old.

    I feel like I've made third pass at the buffet table and I'm starting to feel a little nauseous.


    If Obama was the president the candidate sold... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by mexboy on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 04:55:27 PM EST
    ...the American public, he would release the photos and tell the world a new era in U.S. government has arrived.

    An era of transparency and fairness. An era of hope and change from the old ways to a new way; where we treat all citizens equally and all countries with respect and dignity. An era where we don't torture, we rectify the crimes of the last administration, and we lead by example once again.

    That president; the "Fierce Advocate," for LGBT rights, would also stop the discharge of Gays and Lesbians from the military by executive order until the law is changed.

    But the campaign is over, so we won't hear that Obama until 2010.

    At least I didn't fall for the b.s. and refused to vote for him just because he is a "Democrat," so I can't say he let me down.

    Obama peaked the night (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by pluege on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 07:44:24 PM EST
    he was elected. Its all down hill from there.

    true colors (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 12:52:26 PM EST
    shining through

    Which colors? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Idearc on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    are you implying he's anti-gay?

    ooops. disregard. my bad. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Idearc on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:01:36 PM EST
    BTW (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:07:18 PM EST
    You have used your first day allotment of comments.

    Unfortunately, half had to be deleted for violating site policy.

    Maybe you can do better tomorrow.

    In the meantime, no more commenting today.


    anti gay? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:27:03 PM EST
    what has he done other than SAY how staunchly he supports gay rights?

    I think he doesnt give a damn one way or the other.


    Executive Order on DADT ? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Idearc on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:00:03 PM EST
    An Executive Order ordering the military not to implement a codified law ?

    Sounds like the unitary executive.

    Executive Order (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:06:17 PM EST
    by the Commander in Chief of the Military temporarily suspending military discharges until the ANNOUNCED reworking of  the policy occurs sounds like a Unitary Executive to you but an Executive Order suspending FOIA does not.

    How much more do we need to know?


    Here's a hypothetical: (none / 0) (#12)
    by steviez314 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:14:07 PM EST
    Do you think if we released those photos tomorrow, it would have any effect on what is happeninh in Iran now?

    Do you think it might have any effect on those elements of the Pakistan gov't/military that seem to be gearing up their fight against the Taliban?

    In other words, is there ANY geopolitical consideration that might trump, at least temporarily, the purity of transparency?

    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:16:46 PM EST
    I think it would enhance our image in the world as a country unafraid to face up to its problems.

    Iranians might take heart from that and challenge their own government to do the same.


    I wish that were so, and maybe after some long (none / 0) (#17)
    by steviez314 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:18:46 PM EST
    reflection it would.

    But sadly, some Danish cartoons and a Dutch filmaker's murder suggest otherwise to me.


    Suppose that were true (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:22:38 PM EST
    Ar we going to abandon transparency in our own government because of adverse reaction overseas?

    That seems to be your argument.


    Lilburro below beat me to it... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by steviez314 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:25:05 PM EST
    Rather than just releasing the photos, if it was done as part of a Truth Commission (or better yet, a trial), it would show not just what we did, but what we are doing about it.

    First, we'd have to restore the (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:40:08 PM EST
    transparency - it was abandoned as never before in the last administration, and Obama is simply carrying on.  And doing so rather shamelessly, to all appearances.

    Either we want to be an example of an open and accountable government, and actually have the moral authority and credibility to lead the world, or we want to delude ourselves into believing that the actions we've taken, and the efforts to cover up those actions, are representative of a great democracy.

    Either we can put ourselves, as a nation, back in our place, or we can continue along these lines and understand that it is bound to be done for us.  No, I am not hoping or even suggesting we will be hit by terrorists again, but I am suggesting that our current course is hurting us globally.  I don't, for example, envy Hillary Clinton telling the Chinese they should look back into their past and address what they find there.  Soon, Obama will have to replace the presidential seal with a big red neon sign that flashes "hypocrite" in 3-foot tall letters.

    Too bad we don't have the real leader Obama sold himself as being.


    I bet it wouldn't sting as much (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by lilburro on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:21:09 PM EST
    if it were being done hand in hand with a Truth Commission.

    It certainly (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:27:35 PM EST
    would give our government the right to criticize other governments' lack of transparency.

    As it stands, we don't have that right.

    We don't own the higher ground.


    This is a good point (none / 0) (#23)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:30:56 PM EST
    although I feel compelled to note that, legally, they are on firmer ground here.  One of the enumerated exceptions in the FOIA statute is:

    matters that are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order

    So there's no potential for a conflict between an executive order and the law in the FOIA example because the statute expressly allows for modification by executive order.

    Still, as a political matter, I think BTD has an exceedingly fair point here.

    Truman (none / 0) (#26)
    by Todd on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:44:40 PM EST
    I'm not exactly sure, and will now go look, but I think i read Truman used an executive order to integrate blacks into the military.

    Truman (none / 0) (#27)
    by Todd on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:46:45 PM EST
    It is executive order 9981.

    But (none / 0) (#30)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:51:36 PM EST
    was Truman overruling a statute, or simply a military policy?

    Hell (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:02:47 PM EST
    It was easier than I thought. Apparently, DADT has been interpreted to give the Executive great leeway in its enforcement. Thus the "Don't Pursue" policy:

    "Don't Pursue

    More than a dozen specific investigative limits as laid out in DoD instructions and directives comprise "Don't Pursue." It is the most complicated and least understood component of the policy. These investigative limits establish a minimum threshold to start an inquiry and restrict the scope of an inquiry even when one is properly initiated.

    A service member may be investigated and administratively discharged if he or she:

        1. states that he or she is lesbian, gay or bisexual;

        2. engages in physical contact with someone of the same sex for the purposes of sexual gratification; or

        3. marries, or attempts to marry, someone of the same sex.

    Only a service member's commanding officer may initiate an inquiry into homosexual conduct. In order to begin an inquiry, the commanding officer must receive credible information from a reliable source that a service member has violated the policy. Actions that are associational behavior, such as having gay friends, going to a gay bar, attending gay pride events, and reading gay magazines or books, are never to be considered credible. In addition, a service member's report to his/her command regarding harassment or assault based on perceived sexuality is never to be considered credible evidence.

    If a determination is made that credible information exists that a service member has violated the policy, a service member's commanding officer may initiate a "limited inquiry" into the allegation or statement. That inquiry is limited in two primary ways. First, the command may only investigate the factual circumstances directly relevant to the specific allegation(s). Second, in statements cases, the command may only question the service member, his/her chain of command, and anyone that the service member suggests. In most cases of homosexual statement, no investigation is necessary. Cases involving sexual acts between consenting adults should be dealt with administratively, and criminal investigators should not be involved. The command may not attempt to gather additional information not relevant to the specific act or allegation, and the command may not question anyone outside of those listed above without approval from the Secretary of that Service. Such an investigation is considered a "substantial investigation." In order to request authority to conduct a "substantial investigation," the service member's command must be able to clearly articulate an appropriate basis for an investigation. As with a "limited inquiry," only a service member's commanding officer has the authority to request permission to conduct a "substantial investigation." By definition, a "substantial investigation" is anything that extends beyond questioning the service member, the service member's immediate chain of command, and anyone the service member suggests.

    Amend this directive and make it ONLY pursue if something impossible occurs.

    Easy as pie.


    Go for it (none / 0) (#28)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:49:11 PM EST
    if you can, it would be a great answer to a standard talking point.  But I think it might be a little trickier to work around DADT.

    Pfft (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:50:58 PM EST
    Come now. You can't imagine it would be that hard.

    THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF and all that.

    I won't waste my time.


    Well (none / 0) (#31)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 01:55:03 PM EST
    I don't think you could seriously argue that an executive order issued pursuant to an express statutory provision is no different from an executive order issued pursuant to some blah blah inherent powers under Article II blah blah argument, so I'll give you more credit than that.

    Am I saying it is impossible to overturn DADT with an executive order?  Absolutely not.  I'm just saying that the President's legal authority is crystal-clear in the FOIA case and not quite as crystal-clear in the DADT case.


    You'll give me more credit than that? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:03:39 PM EST
    Why? In any event, I answered your question in a comment below.

    Why am I not surprised (none / 0) (#35)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:07:56 PM EST
    that the person who cannot tell Tuesday from Wednesday similarly cannot tell the difference between above and below!

    Anyway, I accept your answer.  I think we all know that the real reason is not some legal nuance, but simply the fact that no one wants to stick their neck out on this issue.


    You are a brave man SteveM... (none / 0) (#36)
    by vml68 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:21:31 PM EST
    the person who cannot tell Tuesday from Wednesday similarly cannot tell the difference between above and below!

    I have to fight back (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:32:48 PM EST
    BTD, like Stephen Colbert's doppelganger, is a formidable opponent.

    That's not fair (none / 0) (#40)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:55:52 PM EST
    the comments move around constantly with the ratings numbers pushing things around.

    I am thinking, though, you were teasing BTD and simply forgot the smiley face :)


    Hehe (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 03:07:36 PM EST
    Of course I was teasing.  Personally, I sort comments by time rather than rating, so I had forgotten that they jump around for some people.

    I guess BTD probably sorts by rating so he's able to easily find his own posts, way down at the bottom of the page.



    LOL, you are on a roll today! (none / 0) (#43)
    by vml68 on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 04:09:34 PM EST

    Sickening (none / 0) (#39)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 02:37:30 PM EST
    This is the issue on which he is prepared to take a forceful stand.

    Even more (none / 0) (#42)
    by talesoftwokitties on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 03:27:45 PM EST


    it really starts to make you wonder (none / 0) (#44)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 04:18:39 PM EST
    what exactly is IN those pictures that maybe we have not heard about yet doesnt it?

    Not really (none / 0) (#45)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Jun 16, 2009 at 04:36:30 PM EST
    I've thought all along they are protecting the faces of the troops involved...not from terrorists, but from fellow countrymen.

    Even if they didn't make them "public", they need to be sitting down and discussing what the right thing to do is. There are people who deserve some pretty significant restitution, I would think.

    It isn't the photos that will cause outrage, it's the acts being inflicted that will. I wonder what it is they use as the cause for these acts of torture. Were the troops shown photos of violence as the trigger?