The Bush administration got excoriated by the Left for its expansive use of the state-secrets doctrine. Barack Obama and other Democratic presidential hopefuls pounded Bush for its use. In fact, that was one of the principal components of Hope and Change — a shift away from secrecy and back to the “rule of law,” although no one has shown how Bush actually broke any laws in the first place. Apparently, Obama agrees, and as Jake Tapper reports, has decided to expand the Bush practice on state secrets:
Attorney General Eric Holder recently said he was reviewing the way the Bush administration used the “state secrets” argument, but “on the basis of the two, three cases that we’ve had to review so far — I think that the invocation of the doctrine was correct.”
That seems a little different from the Obama-Biden campaign website where “The Problem” is described in part as the Bush administration having “invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.”
Because that’s just what the Obama administration tried to do.
This time the issue was the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, and whether courts would be able to assess its constitutionality in a case called Jewel v. NSA, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging the NSA surveillance by suing on behalf of AT&T customers whose records may or may not have been caught up in the NSA “dragnet.”
I’ve covered this, er, change over the 80 days of the Obama presidency. First, Obama’s DoJ filed an emergency brief in February maintaining the Bush argument on the state-secrets doctrine. In March, he argued for a privilege that expanded on what Bush claimed. At the time, I predicted a vast silence from the Left, with only a couple of truly consistent voices opposing Obama on it, and figured Glenn Greenwald would be among the few. Respect him or hate him, agree or disagree, Glenn’s consistent, and he has pilloried Obama for his reversal on this point.
I’m still waiting for the hypocritical hysterics to start offering apologies to George Bush. After all, if they don’t want to complain about Obama’s view of the state-secrets privilege, then they couldn’t have had any realistic problem with Bush’s — and it shows that they used national security as nothing more than a political tool, and in so doing undermined our efforts to catch terrorists.