One week after the Obama administration said it would comply with a federal appeals court ruling ordering it to make public portions of a Justice Department memo that signed off on the targeted killing of a United States citizen, the administration is now asking the court for permission to censor additional passages of the document.
Wasn't that the whole plan, right from the get-go?In the interim, the Senate voted narrowly last week to confirm David Barron, the former Justice Department official who was the memo’s principal author, to an appeals court judgeship. At least one Democratic senator who had opposed Mr. Barron over the secrecy surrounding his memo voted for him after the administration said it would release it.
Obama exterminates an American citizen (who, for some reason is deemed to have enjoyed a more valuable life than thousands of non-American drone victims) based upon a dubious legal rationale dreamed up by the former Justice flack, David Barron. The White House refuses to divulge its dubiousness. Senators pretend to refuse to confirm Barron until they can read the memo. Obama pretends to acquiesce. Barron is confirmed because, other than the sordid fact that he rubber-stamped state-sponsored murder, he's a real liberal guy. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden as much as proclaims that as long as we're told the reasons why the president has the right to kill us, then it must be all right to kill us. Transparent extermination trumps opaque extermination, or some such.
Then, quick as a wink and a nod, Obama scurries back to court and says he'd crossed his fingers the whole time he was making that silly promise.
I guess it could have been worse. Because it turns out that the Obama administration had even tried to censor its latest censorship motion, lest its opacity be exposed. And the judge put her foot down on wrapping secrecy inside secrecy. Too many layers. So, while we still don't have the right to know the president's reasons for killing us, we are nonetheless graciously allowed to know that he is a conniving promise-breaker. And that the Senators who pretend to be for civil liberties are mere partisan hacks.
From the New York Times article by Charlie Savage:
The 41-page memo, dated July 16, 2010, cleared the way for a drone strike in Yemen in September 2011 that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen accused by intelligence officials of plotting terrorist attacks. The American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times are seeking the memo’s public disclosure in lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Justice Department said it would soon disclose a version of the memo with the additional passages it wants to keep redacted blacked out. It said the additional passages discussed classified facts, not legal reasoning.Who needs facts? They have such a factual bias. Legal minds can still churn out perfectly efficient opinions in a fact-free vacuum.
Last week, the administration said that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. had decided to release the memo but would file a limited appeal to keep some facts redacted in the final public version of the court’s ruling. Among the information redacted in the ruling is the identity of an agency, in addition to the Defense Department, that had an operational role in the drone strike that killed Mr. Awlaki. Although it is widely known that the C.I.A. operates drones, including from a base in Saudi Arabia, and that it participated in the operation that killed Mr. Awlaki, the Obama administration still officially treats that information as secret.Since the Obama administration can't even admit that it uses the CIA as an assassination squad, I can hardly wait to see the 6,000-page Senate investigative report on CIA torture. Since Obama inexplicably placed this damning report in the hands of the CIA torturers themselves for redaction purposes, what should be a black mark on the spy agency will instead be transformed into a sea of black Magic Marker ink.
When parts of the report were leaked to McClatchy Newspapers anyway, Dianne Feinstein predictably called for the prosecution of the leaker instead of the actual torturers. I guess Obama must have apologized to her, after all, since her staged hissy fit on the Senate floor about not being kept in the secret loop.
It was all just a little hacking misunderstanding between hacks.