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The Secrecy Shall Continue
November 7, 2009 1:12 PM   Subscribe

The Obama administration has again invoked the state secrets privilege in an effort to dismiss a class action lawsuit challenging government surveillance. The DOJ has also unveiled new procedures for invoking the privilege. This is not the first time the Obama DOJ has taken this position.

This is a second post because first link failed in the earlier post.
posted by bearwife (58 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, he did promise to restore the rule of law. I guess we shoulda asked which laws. HA-ha!

But I'm sure Sarah Palin will roll all these bad laws back when she takes office.

This country is irrevocably fucked.
posted by words1 at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Surely this...
posted by Thorzdad at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2009


Sarah Palin is an outsider who knows nothing about politics. That means she'll cut through the BS and the constitution to deliver justice and liberty to all. Ayn Rand didn't know anything about economics, but she created an entire economic movement based on principles that almost work! Have a little faith in the everyman, Words1.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:29 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Obama administration has again invoked the state secrets privilege ... and yet we're ragging on Sarah Palin.

That's kind of weak. Oh and by the way, Glenn Beck was tragically not killed the other day, so could we please hate him for a while too.
posted by philip-random at 1:36 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


But they did release a new policy ignore, so we should be happy right?

But oh if we criticize Obama on these issues it will guarantee Sarah Palin that will get elected in 2012. It's the only issue that matters. The fact that he listened to Geithner and Summers and the Senate Centrist club when crafting the stimulus package and made it way smaller then it needed to be, resulting in unemployment way overshooting their estimates won't have any impact.

No one is going to vote on anything as esoteric as health-care. Voting on issues that actually affect people's lives is so gauche. And everyone knows if Americans are anything, it's not gauche.

The 2012 election is totally going to be fought over Gitmo prisoners and state secrets laws, which are wildly popular and if Obama doesn't do keep them then Sarah Palin will win FOR SURE. Americans are just itching to vote for her. Sure polls say people hate her but they don't hate her as much as they hate the idea of government transparency and justice!

Don't you understand people!? You're not afraid enough! YOU HAVE TO ME MORE AFRAID! IF YOU'RE NOT AFRAID OF THE TERRORISTS, BE AFRAID OF THE REPUBLICANS. Who will immediately sweep into power if we don't implement all the policies they would if they were in power.
posted by delmoi at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Point about Palin (and any other likely Repub. candidate) being that Obama has now made this kind of crap "bi-partisan." There is, with rare and marginalized exceptions (e.g., Russ Feingold), no opposition to the expansion of executive power and the flouting of intl. law, no constituency for really restoring constitutional safeguards, within either major party. Obama has endorsed, codified and extended the worst constitutional violations of the Bush administration.
posted by words1 at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


This is pretty much "Catch-22": we can't discover whether they're violating the constitution because they're doing (presumably) unconstitutional stuff here that is protecting the constitution.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:51 PM on November 7, 2009


p.s. -- The bottom line on Obama is what Jonathan Turley said on MSNBC six months or so ago: the greatest bait-and-switch presidency in history. The guy was consciously, deliberately lying, crafting his message to appeal to the despearate idealism of people who had spent the past eight years horrified at what was being done to their country and, in their name, to the world. It was all bullshit. Barak Obama is one cynical bastard.
posted by words1 at 1:52 PM on November 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


And everyone knows if Americans are anything, it's not gauche.

Of course not. Leftist *and* French!?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:58 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


The guy [OBAMA] was consciously, deliberately lying, crafting his message to appeal to the despearate idealism of people who had spent the past eight years horrified at what was being done to their country and, in their name, to the world. It was all bullshit.

umm, okay. I guess you're right.
posted by philip-random at 2:11 PM on November 7, 2009


... and am I the only one NOT getting into my gmail account right now? Something's ................... happening.
posted by philip-random at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2009


Something's ................... happening.

What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.
posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


p.s. -- The bottom line on Obama is what Jonathan Turley said on MSNBC six months or so ago: the greatest bait-and-switch presidency in history. The guy was consciously, deliberately lying, crafting his message to appeal to the despearate idealism of people who had spent the past eight years horrified at what was being done to their country and, in their name, to the world. It was all bullshit. Barak Obama is one cynical bastard.
posted by words1 at 4:52 PM on November 7


Flagged as TimeCube. You are educated stupid.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


when do we march to Jerusalem?
posted by philip-random at 2:22 PM on November 7, 2009


Metafilter: You are educated stupid.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:25 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Seriously, read the procedural memo in the third link.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2009


Isn't that strategy kind of old? That whole, "OH LOOK LEFTIES, OBAMA ISN'T HANDING OUT FREE MONEY HE LIED HE'S JUST ANOTHER POLITICIAN," whereby people who don't have a fucking clue about what they're talking about attempt to project this silly Fix Everything Hippie persona on Obama, and then go on about how he's not living up to all the hope?

Because, honestly, if I have to hear "that's not change I can believe in" one more time, I'm going to lose it.
posted by spiderskull at 2:31 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


And you know what else is a good indicator that you're pretty uninformed? Statements like "this country is irrevocably fucked." I read that as "I don't know what I'm talking about, but fear for your lives!"
posted by spiderskull at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The problem is, no matter who is at the wheel, it's utter folly to trust the government with the power to violate the constitution. Using the guise of 'omg we must protect national security' as a cover for straightforward crime doesn't change the fact that the government is committing crimes. What's being protected is not national security, but someone's ass.
posted by mullingitover at 2:36 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Personally, I admire and respect Barack Obama. I put up this post because this particular DOJ policy concerns me, and because in general I would like to see a focus on righting the damage the Bush administration did to civil liberties. I also wonder what national security threat is posed by these lawsuits.
posted by bearwife at 2:38 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


On the one hand, Obama is doing some stuff, like this, that is just plain wrong. On the other hand, it would definitely be much worse under a Palin/McCain administration. That's the problem with having only two choices: one is bad, the other not good enough.

What to do? Hold Obama's feet to the fire. Elect more liberal Congresspeople in the next election, and get rid of the more conservative ones, of whatever party.

What not to do? Pretend that Obama is exactly the same as Bush.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:46 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Obama has now made this kind of crap "bi-partisan." There is, with rare and marginalized exceptions (e.g., Russ Feingold), no opposition to the expansion of executive power and the flouting of intl. law, no constituency for really restoring constitutional safeguards, within either major party. Obama has endorsed, codified and extended the worst constitutional violations of the Bush administration.

Ex-actly.

Bush had opposition. What Obama is doing means that in the next election, flagrant violation of the constitution WON"T EVEN BE AN ISSUE ANYMORE. It will be taken as a matter of course by both major parties, making it almost impossible to roll back for the foreseeable future. This is horrific. At some point you have to stop saying "But McCain would've been worse" and actually show some interest in the Constitution and the future of our democracy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:13 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


And yes, the sad thing is, I will probably vote for him again, because whatever piece of human garbage the GOP throws up there *would* be 100 times worse.

But there is no chance of Obama getting one dollar of donation from me. There is no chance of him getting my volunteer effort again. I will vote for him because I have to, but I would feel sick trying to sell him to anyone else at this point.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:16 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


On the bright side, maybe with the GOP fractured into loonies and moderate loonies, and the democratic party soon to be fractured into liberals and Obama pseudo-liberals, we can finally get "instant runoff voting" and vote for a third party candidate as our first choice, without throwing the election to the other side.

Is anyone seriously lobbying for this yet?
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:18 PM on November 7, 2009


Oh, and Sarah Palin will never ever be elected to a national office. Her disapproval is hovering close to 70%, and she seems much more interested in a media career.

So the continual use of her as a scare tactic to bully liberals into getting 100% behind Obama and his use of the constitution as toilet paper is pretty disgusting.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:23 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Her disapproval is hovering close to 70%, and she seems much more interested in a media career.

It's not 2012 yet, and anything can happen to her approval numbers between now and then.

She may be interested in a media career. She's also interested enough to have taken an active part in trying to influence the recent NY 23rd district election, complete with non-interested references to Reagan's primary defeat in 1976 after the Conservative Party candidate lost to the Democrat.
posted by blucevalo at 3:31 PM on November 7, 2009


Fear not! the CIA, assigned a role in Foreign stuff, has taken a broader view and also notes that so too have our very own states, all 50 of them. Here is what they say about such matters:

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol.-53-no.-3/improving-homeland-security-at-the-state-level.html
posted by Postroad at 3:32 PM on November 7, 2009


Here is Postroad's link from the CIA, with this fascinating subtitle: "Needed: State-level, Integrated Intelligence Enterprises."
posted by bearwife at 3:58 PM on November 7, 2009


Calling out the Obama administration as a bait-and-switch presidency that differs little from Bush, as words1 did above, is not TimeCube at all. It may sound crazy. That's because it's an opinion which rarely gets heard in the discussion.

In fact, it's not an uncommon view on the left. See for instance, last month's searing column by renowned journalist and recent Sydney Peace Prize winner John Pilger.

He describes Obama's efforts to pursue and expand some of the worst excesses of Bush. The daily slaughter of Afghan farmers and wedding parties. The hundreds of thousands of Afghan kids dying at the hands of Obama's alliance. The continued human rights abuses against terror suspects. The unprecedented expansion of the military budget. Clinton's threat to obliterate Iran. The eager embrace of entirely new wars for the US to fight.

Typically inflammatory stuff from Pilger. But this kind of voice needs to be heard, critiqued and debated, not shut down as unthinkable.
posted by dontjumplarry at 3:58 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


"OH LOOK LEFTIES, OBAMA ISN'T HANDING OUT FREE MONEY HE LIED HE'S JUST ANOTHER POLITICIAN,"

So in your mind using the state secrets privilege in order to cover up illegal activity by the government is the same as not handing out free money? And obviously Obama is handing out hundreds of billions of dollars of free money to wallstreet, potentially even more through the fed and regulatory structures that allow banks to make tons of money by borrowing at low cost from the fed while lending out at higher then normal rates to 'recapitalize'.
posted by delmoi at 4:59 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not calling Obama a lying hypocrite, nor am I expecting that, given just a little more time, he'll give us all hot and cold running Twizzlers in every house. But I do want to know, when is enough enough? When can we finally start saying, "You know, you said you were going to do better, and you need to do better!"? I'm tired of any time someone complains about Obama dragging his heels on every. single. important. issue. there are simultaneous cries of "Alas, Babylon! Doom! Doom!" and "YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!"

The bottom line is, the man went in with some pretty clear ideas and missions, and we're seeing little to none of this. I don't want to demand he immediately solve all the previous problems, I just want what I wanted for the past eight years: some goddamn accountability and the feeling that the guy gives a shit.
posted by Legomancer at 5:49 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
posted by chillmost at 6:00 PM on November 7, 2009


the man went in with some pretty clear ideas and missions, and we're seeing little to none of this

Elaborate please.
posted by o0o0o at 6:29 PM on November 7, 2009


So in your mind using the state secrets privilege in order to cover up illegal activity by the government is the same as not handing out free money?

No no, of course not. In fact, I'm pretty annoyed by what his administration's doing. It's more bullshit done under the guise of national security.

I'm just tired of, for instance, chillmost's comment right above. I've had it with the stupid black and white easy-thinking bullshit. It's like the left has fallen for the type of faux rationalization that Fox News has perpetuated -- that Obama either does EVERYTHING right or he does EVERYTHING wrong.

He's doing okay, not great. There's a lot of things that I like about his presidency, and a few things that I disagree with him. Doesn't mean we should throw him under the bus.

"The bottom line is, the man went in with some pretty clear ideas and missions, and we're seeing little to none of this."
Uh, citation, please. Otherwise, see Politifact's Obameter.
posted by spiderskull at 6:29 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is anyone seriously lobbying for this yet?

I think it's gaining momentum. Minneapolis had their first IRV, and St. Paul voted for it this election. However, in the latter case, some without a sense of irony are seeking to overturn the vote.

However, as more and more local elections are conducted this way, the electorate will eventually demand it for state and national elections. *fingers crossed*
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:42 PM on November 7, 2009


I have no idea why anyone believed or expected that Obama would preside over a transparent U.S. government.
posted by knoyers at 6:48 PM on November 7, 2009


And as for Afghanistan, who here will think of Afghan civilians on the day when al Qaeda & the Taliban can snatch the bomb unopposed?
posted by knoyers at 6:56 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And as for Afghanistan, who here will think of Afghan civilians on the day when al Qaeda & the Taliban can snatch the bomb unopposed?

Wow, Afghanistan has nukes now?

(And for the record, there is no way the Taliban is going to take control of all of Pakistan. Most voters don't support them and the army, not the civilian government controls their nuclear weapons)
posted by delmoi at 8:19 PM on November 7, 2009


Pakistan does, the Pakistani army is ineffective and hardly trustworthy re the Taliban which it funded for years, and Islamabad is pretty close to the action these days.
posted by knoyers at 8:32 PM on November 7, 2009


I have no idea why anyone believed or expected that Obama would preside over a transparent U.S. government.

Perhaps because it was one of the cornerstones of his campaign? "Sunlight Before Signing", that sort of thing?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:40 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps because taking a presidential candidate's campaign slogan at anything like face value is a credulous sort of thinking, or a sort of not thinking.
posted by knoyers at 10:05 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Sunlight Before Signing", that sort of thing?

This one in particular was the main reason several friends gave for voting Obama. I suspect they have learned a bit in the last few months.
posted by rr at 10:29 PM on November 7, 2009


And you know what else is a good indicator that you're pretty uninformed? Statements like "this country is irrevocably fucked." I read that as "I don't know what I'm talking about, but fear for your lives!"

And what's your solution for saving this country in 5 million years when the Sun leaves main sequence, hmm?

That's what I thought.
posted by Evilspork at 12:37 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


... given just a little more time, he'll give us all hot and cold running Twizzlers in every house.

I'll go with M&Ms. I don't like Twizzlers.
posted by ericb at 8:04 AM on November 8, 2009


Pakistan does, the Pakistani army is ineffective and hardly trustworthy re the Taliban which it funded for years, and Islamabad is pretty close to the action these days.

Seymour Hersh in this week's The New Yorker: Defending the Arsenal -- "In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe?"
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


When states withhold secrets, under the guise of state privilege and national security... I get a feeling of deja vu.


An interview [by cbc's Jian Ghomeshi] with 89-year-old White House correspondent, Helen Thomas [Dean of The White House Press Corps] on the Obama administration and the media...podcast, thursday november 5, 2009. I've transcribed some statements [not verbatim, but close]
5:32
'has conscience, his heart's in the right place, but doesn't have the courage to follow through to make true what his ideals are. There's no reason why he doesn't weigh in when he has a democratic congress. No reason why we don't have universal health care, government health insurance plan and get the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq.'
'Having lived through the Vietnam era, I have deja vu all over again.'

6:40
'he's too cautious and is not willing to fight for a government insurance plan, 47M people with no health insurance. He may have his own reasons, but surely they aren't justified.'

10:40 -rolls eyes to question posed, however, the answer...
'Do the right thing, reach the top of the mark, 'aint no other place to go, so the only thing to do is the right thing, and there is such a thing as a moral decision, he should stop the killing, stop the dying and explain why.'
posted by alicesshoe at 8:12 AM on November 8, 2009


Back during the campaign, there was an article in Time that compared Obama's style of gambling and McCain's style. Obama is a slow cautious poker player who doesn't win big, but he wins consistently. He looks at his cards and his opponents and decides what can be done and does it. McCain, on the other hand is a craps player who regularly goes to Vegas and drops big money on the table. He bets big and stupid because he likes the thrill of winning a long shot, even if it means losing more than he wins.

Obama is playing the legislative game exactly the same way he plays poker. He's racking up a steady stream of small wins. But that makes people who want a big spectacular win impatient, even if losing that bet could hurt us all badly, as happened with Clinton's big bet on health care.

There are things that can be done now to extend the effect of this version of universal care. One is to extend Medicare to cover children and students. We could also reduce the age of eligibility. These are things that the insurance companies would be glad to sign on to, since they would take high-cost cohorts out of their arena of responsibility. A gradual stripping away of customers could slowly boil the frog until we no longer have to give 30% of our health care dollars to a parasitic bureaucracy.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:36 PM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oops...how did that get into this thread?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2009


Obama is playing the legislative game exactly the same way he plays poker. He's racking up a steady stream of small wins.

Obama went into his presidency with enough political capital that he could have decreed ten new Hoover Dams be built and he would have gotten them. He has squandered nearly all of the initial love-fest for some realpolitik that is leaving him with very few actual, tangible chips on the table to show for it.

As much as I hate Bush, in just about every way conceivable, his most horribly egregious sin after 9/11 was all the squandered goodwill that was laid out for him on a silver fucking platter. It's coming on a decade, now, and people forget just how outraged and disgusted the world was and how much pity they felt for us. Europe, the Middle East, they all were ready to do anything for us. And that's just what they did… went to war against their better judgement. And all of that good-will was literally turned on its head, flipped from good to bad in just two short years.

That's what Obama is doing. The man could have moved a fucking mountain after his election. He could have come on television, said simply and clearly, "People, we need to move this mountain. I believe we can do it. Who's with me?" and in six hours you would have had ten million people descending with shovels and fucking pick-axes. We could have had anything. Universal health care? Pshaw! That could have been so. fucking. simple. Nobody could have stopped him. Nobody would have had the balls to stand up to him—he would have taken his popular support and steamrolled over any opposition. No president has had these levels of popular support since fucking Roosevelt. But Roosevelt was at least smart enough to know you need to cash that shit in or it disappears.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:21 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Civil_Disobedient, I don't think Obama had the approval ratings that you think he had. At least according to wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_approval_rating
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 9:00 PM on November 8, 2009


Civil_Disobedient: Obama could have gotten Universal Healthcare on the day he was elected? But 11 months later he can't, even though he actually had fewer democratic votes? How, exactly, would he have been able to overcome a filibuster with just 59 senate votes? Would he have been able to get 50 democrats to join him in changing the rules or using reconciliation? What good would "10 million people with shovels and pick-axes" have done in a country with 300 million people and an obstinate senate?

Universal healthcare seems to be moving along just fine.
posted by delmoi at 11:28 PM on November 8, 2009


Obama went into his presidency with enough political capital that he could have decreed ten new Hoover Dams be built and he would have gotten them.

It cost $49,000,000 to build the Hoover Dam (~$550,000,000 in today's market). Obama came in and asked for about 1,600 Hoover Dams and he got them.

Bummer about the secrecy thing, though.
posted by one_bean at 12:42 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't believe that Sarah Palin will be elected, FWIW. Romney seems to be a near inevitability for the Republicans. And I am not suggesting the Democrats won't run Obama, but there was at least some... grumbling about whether Bush Sr. should get a second chance.

However, you have a real, binary problem: hard right hates him, to the point of irrationality and paranoia. Hard left is disappointed with him. Most of the middle is ambivalent but will say to the side the media tell them to sway.

If the hard left become even more disappointed-- if it becomes a staple of their thinking that Obama is merely a cog in the Great Business Class Conspiracy, then you have two polarized, nutty groups violently angry at the government. Before, the left could blame Bush-- if he was gone, things would be different. But if Obama can't make things change, then the government is at fault.

For this reason, Obama may be the worst President in history, not because he is a bad President, but because of what he is bringing out in the people.

I'm not happy with him, but for the sake of America it would have been much better if he simply picked one philosophy and stuck to it. Instead, poor blacks in the deep south got Bush-lite. If you think the first Katrina "revealed massive inequality", wait until the second.
posted by obamamustlose at 8:48 AM on November 9, 2009


Glenn Greenwald: What was once depicted as a grave act of lawlessness -- Bush's NSA program -- is now deemed a vital state secret.
posted by homunculus at 12:57 PM on November 9, 2009


How, exactly, would he have been able to overcome a filibuster with just 59 senate votes?

One of the things the Democratic party seems to have missed during the Bush presidency was that the American people want simple, direct language. Particularly the ones that are now proving hardest to convince. You want to overcome a filibuster? Simple: give David Letterman a call and tell him you need ten minutes. Then go on the air and tell the people that the only thing separating them from affordable health care for every American is Senator X, Senator Y and Senator Z. That these men are reaping the benefits of just such a service, yet want to prevent every American from sharing it. That if the people want it, they need to either convince these hypocrites that they're wrong, or they need to show them the door. Name names. Get dirty. Partisanship is for the weak.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:15 PM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama came in and asked for about 1,600 Hoover Dams and he got them.

Except most of them came in the form of tax cuts. Actual infrastructure type investments ended up being a pretty small slice.
posted by delmoi at 10:20 AM on November 10, 2009


That these men are reaping the benefits of just such a service, yet want to prevent every American from sharing it. That if the people want it, they need to either convince these hypocrites that they're wrong, or they need to show them the door. Name names. Get dirty. Partisanship is for the weak.

What makes you think he won't do that eventually if it comes to it? I'm not sure exactly what you think the problem is, healthcare just passed the house. What would have been the benefit of trying to get passed in a few weeks vs. a year, given that these things will take years to get in place anyway?

I just don't understand what your insistence on an accelerated schedule is all about. Healthcare seems to be moving along just fine.
posted by delmoi at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2009


How to Deny Service to a Federal Wiretap
posted by homunculus at 8:37 AM on November 12, 2009


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