Obama's Justice Department goes New York Times and reveals secret Bush Administration legal advice.
President Obama's Attorney General today released previously undisclosed legal memoranda and opinions that the Bush Administration considered secret.
Attorney General Eric Holder tried to justify the revelation of the confidential legal advice as serving the interests of transparency:
"Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
If this wasn't such serious issue, it would be funny coming as it does from an administration that throws promised transparency under the bus when Obama finds it politically expedient.
I haven't had time to digest these formerly secret documents, but releasing the confidential legal advice of the Bush Administration can only make it less likely that the new and not ready for prime time Obama Administration will not get the candid legal advice that it will need. Attorneys writing opinions and memoranda for Obama will now have to keep in mind how the advice will read in the New York Times. Some officials may now be reluctant to seek advice from Attorney General out of fear that their communications will be revealed to others.
Maybe I will feel better about this after reviewing the formerly secret documents. But now Holder's "transparency" seems like a first step toward that political retribution dressed up as investigations of the looney left-wing's fanciful allegations of Bush administration war-crimes. You know, those things Obama promised to have his Attorney General investigate, and about which Holder has already made up his mind.
The documents revealed by Holder are linked below:
- Memorandum Regarding Status of Certain OLC Opinions Issued in the Aftermath of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (01-15-2009)
- Memorandum Regarding Constitutionality of Amending Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to Change the "Purpose" Standard for Searches (09-25-2001)
- Memorandum Regarding Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities within the United States (10-23-2001)
- Memorandum Regarding Authority of the President to Suspend Certain Provisions of the ABM Treaty (11-15-2001)
- Memorandum Regarding the President's Power as Commander in Chief to Transfer Captured Terrorists to the Control and Custody of Foreign Nations (03-13-2002)
- Memorandum Regarding Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a) to Military Detention of United States Citizens (06-27-2002)
- Memorandum Regarding October 23, 2001 OLC Opinion Addressing the Domestic Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities (10-06-2008)
This is no way to try and run a country.