Sean Hannity falsely claimed or suggested that the Obama administration acted to “take over Fannie, take over Freddie.” In fact, it was the Bush administration that made the decision to “take over” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Freddie and Fannie Mae were also hybrid public-private entities any way – they’re GSEs. Hannity is either lying or is blabbering on about a subject on which he has done zero research. Neither is a big surprise considering Fox’s gutter level standards of journalism.
Panetta argued that none of the 65 CIA documents immediately at issue, which the ACLU has sought for several years in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, should be released. He asked U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to draw a legal distinction between the administration’s release in April of Justice Department memos authorizing the harsh interrogations and the CIA’s desire to keep classified its own documents detailing the specific handling of detainees at its secret facilities overseas.
He said that while the Justice Department memos discussed harsh interrogation “in the abstract,” the CIA information was “of a qualitatively different nature” because it described the interrogation techniques “as applied in actual operations.”
The “disclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations” would provide al-Qaeda “with propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds,” Panetta said, describing the information at issue as “ready-made ammunition.” He also submitted a classified statement to the court that he said explains why detainees could use the contents to evade questions in the future, even though Obama has promised that the United States will not use the harsh interrogation techniques again.
Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s national security program, said yesterday evening that it is “grim” and “troubling” for the Obama administration to say that information about purported abuses should be withheld because it might fuel anti-American propaganda. He said that amounts to an assertion that “the greater the abuse, the more important it is that it should remain secret.” Jaffer said the ACLU is convinced that the public should have “access to the complete record of what took place in the CIA’s prisons and on whose authority.”
Its odd if not a stretch of the law as it regards Congressional oversight of the CIA that the Obama administration would claim the CIA had a right as such to destroy taped evidence. A situation where field agents are thus allowed to make law as they go. If this or another president thinks they have the legal right under national security guidelines to keep such materials secret that is at least arguable. Most of us would not buy into the other extreme where the CIA flings opens all its files and tells the media and ACLU to help itself, but it seems to the CIA and president Obama that are acting in broad strokes – claiming anything and everything is potentially damaging to an already battered reputation. It should be troubling to members of both parties that Congress’s role as watchdog on rogue activities by our security agencies get the automatic cover-up treatment. That would seem to extend the CIA’s rights into Cheneyish Fourth Branch of government territory. Glenn has more on the subject of transparency, Defeat of Graham-Lieberman and the ongoing war on transparency
A much more critical issue here is whether the President should have the power to conceal evidence about the Government’s actions on the ground that what the Government did was so bad, so wrong, so inflammatory, so lawless, that to allow disclosure and transparency would reflect poorly on our country, thereby increase anti-American sentiment, and thus jeopardize The Troops. Once you accept that rationale — the more extreme the Government’s abuses are, the more compelling is the need for suppression — then open government, one of the central planks of the Obama campaign and the linchpin of a healthy democracy, becomes an illusion.
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But there’s an even more vital issue at stake here. One of the central objections to the Bush presidency was its claim that we could only Stay Safe from the Terrorists if we fundamentally altered — diluted and abandoned — our long-standing political values and legal frameworks. That argument was repeatedly ridiculed by Obama as a “false choice.”
Its a little distrubing that any president can simply wave the national security flag to cover up any and all activities. We now know that initially there was a cover-up of the abusive activities at Abu Ghraib. There was an investigation, soldiers are sill serving time in prison and one general was fired (perhaps unfairly used as a scapegoat for orders that came down from Rumsfeld and the White House). With that kid of history behind us, all the more reason to question whether actions being taken now are in the best interests of the country or actions that pander to a powerful circle of political elites who are too old to be seeing bogeymen around every corner.
Its an old formula. Add xenophbia with a world wide fiinancial crunch and ultranationalism gets a boost. Meet Britain’s Leading Fascist. If there is one thing that could bring back America’s twisted brand of fascism-lite conservatism, it is the combination of financial panic and Republican identity politics.