Shhh: Obama may create “classified loophole” for enhanced interrogations

posted at 4:12 pm on January 16, 2009 by Allahpundit

The news here is that this isn’t news. Less than a week after the election, rumors were already swirling that he was going to retain the option “in certain cases” to use procedures not authorized by the Army Field Manual. Then the left got him to back down on appointing John Brennan, who’d defended some of Bush’s interrogation policies, as director of the CIA. I thought that signaled the end of heart-ache for Andrew Sullivan, but no: Not only might Brennan end up being placed in a supervisory role, evidently The One’s still flirting with a little presidential prerogative when it comes to especially “difficult” subjects.

For Obama, who repeatedly insisted during the 2008 presidential campaign and the transition period that “America doesn’t torture,” a classified loophole would allow him to back up his vow to end harsh interrogations while retaining a full range of presidential options in conducting the war against terrorism.

The proposed loophole, which could come in the form of a classified annex to the manual, would satisfy intelligence experts who fear that an outright ban of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques would limit the government in obtaining threat information that could save American lives. It would also preserve Obama’s flexibility to authorize any interrogation tactics he might deem necessary for national security.

However, such a move would frustrate Senate Democrats and human rights, retired military and religious groups that have pressed for a government-wide prohibition on methods they describe as torture…

“That would not be good,” said the Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “We don’t need to be able to torture and we don’t need to engage in any interrogation techniques that are not humane. And unless we have absolute clarity that these interrogation techniques will not be used, they are not going to be able to say that.”

Indeed. How is Obama upholding his vow to end harsh interrogations if he’s not ending harsh interrogations? All he’s doing is scaling it down from the level of official policy to an ad hoc contingency, which makes it even more arbitrary and potentially abused. Exit question: The left won’t cut him a break on this the way they will on, say, TARP; absolutist opposition to harsh interrogation in whatever form, from barking dogs on up, is now as central to “progressive” identity as support for abortion is. How can he make them happy while still preserving the option he needs for emergencies? He’s not going to risk his reelection on being caught short-handed in a ticking-bomb scenario.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


The left won’t cut him a break on this…

YES, they will.

MikeA on January 16, 2009 at 9:24 PM

Makes me laugh. Before Bush was President, the left said many times that Saddam must be stopped. He did have WMD’s. Then Bush becomes President. They say that Saddam wasn’t a threat blah blah blah…. They will let Mr. Obami do it. They will say it isn’t torture. It is necessary. Just watch. Sometimes torture is needed.

sheebe on January 16, 2009 at 10:07 PM

The Army Field Manual is apparently also a living, breathing document…

29Victor on January 16, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Kind of an interesting dynamic around here. The mockery and snarkiness increases proportionally with every centrist/right of center action Obama takes. I would think folks would be happy with Obama’s less liberal actions.

dakine on January 16, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Actually, I think it speaks more to the intellectual bankruptcy of liberal, surrender-monkey ideology.


Dave R. on January 16, 2009 at 11:21 PM

I, for one, am happy to see Obama “piss off” the far left. Hopefully, he’ll keep doing so.

dakine on January 16, 2009 at 5:21 PM

Oh.My.God. It’s Bradky’s sock puppet! Come on, dude, it’s me. Come out of the closet.

Jaibones on January 16, 2009 at 11:52 PM

Kind of an interesting dynamic around here. The mockery and snarkiness increases proportionally with every centrist/right of center action Obama takes.

Just because liberals accept and forgive his lying to get elected doesn’t mean the rest of us do.

I would think folks would be happy with Obama’s less liberal actions.

OK, OmightyO-v2.7a-y-358jhp is less painful than the advertised version. So, apparently, is water boarding compared to having fingernails pulled out.

Don’t you just hate it when you order something over the Internet and they switch products, and there is no return policy?

karl9000 on January 17, 2009 at 5:50 AM

Actually, I don’t consider this hypocrisy on the part of the One or his “progressive” supporters. It’s more like they’re going to reserve the privilege of torturing those they regard as the real “terrorist threat”.

Which, considering that the BATFE was telling the Washington Post last week that “domestic terrorism” was being “dangerously neglected due to the excessive emphasis on foreign terrorists, real or imagined“, indicates to me that the focus of DHS will be shifting toward the people that the left views as the most dangerous threat- the eponymous “right wing militias”, whether they really exist or not. (Other than that bunch of S****F***t a$$holes, my guess is that most such “groups” mainly exist in a few fevered imaginations, mainly of those who regard themselves as members of same.)

And of course they’ll have to use the full weight of DHS authority against those who they regard as the “enablers” of the “militia movement”. Such as the NRA, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute. They won’t have to worry about “torture” (or will they?), but I’m sure the rest of the DHS playbook, from warrantless wiretaps to asset confiscation will be “on the table”, and probably fully “in play”.

The main thing that concerns me is that after the next strike at us domestically by purely foreign terrorists, instead of properly identifying it as such and taking proper defensive/retaliatory measures, The One will blame “domestic terrorism” and use that as justification to attack those he regards as the “reactionary opponents” of his Vision Of The Way The World Should Be. After all, if Bill Clinton could blame the NRA and “right-wing talk radio” for the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, The One could use the same gambit on a larger scale in a more serious terrorist attack.

That’s why it’s called the Big Lie technique. And from what I’ve seen so far, the major difference between The One and Bill in the lying department is that The One regards Bill as a piker.

clear ether


eon on January 17, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Don’t forget. Everything the Fool says is a lie. Everything.

His only skill is triple-talk

notagool on January 17, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Jailbones, you really are kind of a lightweight tool.

dakine on January 17, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Now wait a second ..
All the liberals and the GAG messiah SWORE
that if we just
liad down our arms
Surrendered to the islamic nazis
and just TALKED with the poor bastards
That thy would be under the SPELL of the Democrats
so much they would start planting panzies
and given liberals oral sex for free..

Now obama is saying that maybe just maybe the idea
of being Nice to the islamic terrorists
and REASONING with them may not work???

Say it aint so mr obama i am the messia


So now the liberal SCUM like cockroaches
are all runnning away in horrored realization
that maybe just maybe
Bush was RIGHT?

I am absolutly shocked the messiah could be

jcila on January 17, 2009 at 2:36 PM

I am so shocked
I mean the messiah actually is
May have to use harsh tacticts to persuade the islamic nazis to spill their guts..

Why only yersterday obama the messiah and biden the dimwit
Assured all of the world that
If osama bin laden would just come to the messiah
and talk to him that at the end of the day
All the islamic terrorists would be running around
singing cum by ya as they planted panzies like the environmentalists waokos and start to smoke pot..

Complete frigging morons these liberals are..

Hey obama you moron
perhaps you should gove over to iran
kiss their ass
and then if you SURIVIVE it
come back and show us how well it worked,..

Until then
I support
Killing the islamic nazis
Blowing up the islamic nazis
Torturing the islamic terrorists
And if we really cant toruture the poor mass murdering BASTARDS
I sugges a new executive order
Take no prisioners ALIVE..

Shoot every last one of the ismaic terrorists
and bury them all in pork..

jcila on January 17, 2009 at 2:42 PM

What a poser. This is equivalent to voting ‘present.’ This guy has an amazing ability to take no stand at all or take two completely different stands at the same time… and the American public (and the lapdog media) is none the wiser.

Brilliant. Scary. Cunning.

redfoxbluestate on January 18, 2009 at 1:05 PM