Obama Continues to Defend Bush’s Terror Policies

Saturday, January 23, 2010

From McClatchy:

Although the FBI has acknowledged it improperly obtained thousands of Americans’ phone records for years, the Obama administration continues to assert that the bureau can obtain them without any formal legal process or court oversight.

The FBI revealed this stance in a newly released report, troubling critics who’d hoped the bureau had been chastened enough by its own abuses to drop such a position.

In further support of the legal authority, however, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) backed the FBI in a written opinion issued this month.

The opinion by the OLC — the section that wrote the memos that justified enhanced interrogation techniques during the last administration appears to be yet another sign that the Obama administration can be just as assertive as Bush’s in claiming sweeping and controversial anti-terrorism powers.

The Justice Department’s watchdog, the inspector general, said the OLC opinion has “significant policy implications that need to be considered by the FBI, the Department, and the Congress.”

“The FBI says that this kind of activity is in the past,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent who’s now the American Civil Liberties Union’s policy counsel. “But if they’re saying that they have a continuing legal authority that means it’s not in the past.”

In another similarity to Bush era-legal decisions to keep legal theories under wraps, Obama’s Justice Department refused to release to McClatchy the OLC opinion, despite the administration’s vow to be more open than its predecessors.

The little-noticed revelation about the OLC opinion and the FBI’s legal position appears in a heavily redacted section of an inspector general’s report released Wednesday.

In the report, Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded the FBI committed egregious violations of the law when it obtained thousands of telephone records without court oversight or through any formal legal process.

The report described a “casual” environment in which FBI agents and employees of telecom companies treated Americans’ telephone records so cavalierly that one senior FBI counter-terrorism official said getting access to them was as easy as “having an ATM in your living room.”

I’m speechless.

This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, George Bush, Homeland Security, News, President Barack Obama, Privacy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Obama Continues to Defend Bush’s Terror Policies

  1. TOM339 says:

    Remember the controversy surrounding Obama and FISA One and FISA Two?

    We thought he would reject the bills but instead, he proved he was far more worried about the reaction of the far right if he voted “NO” on them.

    A very disappointing reality.

  2. Pechanga says:


    I remember this very well. It all happened before the primary votes determined the Democratic nominee for president.

    Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton is no better. She may be enjoying positive press right now for her position advocating net neutrality in China but her voting record in the senate is to the right of Obama’s voting record.

  3. Big Hank says:

    Why are the American people always at the short end of the terrorist watch list?

    Last time I checked, the moron who tried (allegedly) a bomb on the airplane on Christmas day was a Yemeni and not an American. So why is the government so interested in hearing what I said to my wife on the phone?

  4. Alexander says:

    Same shit, different administration.

  5. retahyajyajav says:

    I don’t have a lot of confidence in Janet Napolitano.

    Payback for delivering a state in an election is all fine and well and the way the game is played. But Arizona didn’t go for Obama in 2008 — they preferred the hometown boy, John McCain, so I’m at a loss as to what Obama thought he was doing by appointing her to lead Homeland Security.

  6. Ron Kubik says:

    I think Obama chose Napolitano because she had a lot of experience dealing with border issues. (Although right-wingers like myself would say Napolitano had a lof of experience NOT dealing with border issues 🙂

    Illegal immigration and border problems with Mexico are a a big hot-button political issue in America today, so Obama’s choice of Napolitano made sense. However, I think she lacked experience in the global intelligence and security realm, and that is unfortunate.

  7. Ron Kubik says:

    (sorry, not intending to spam your blog with right-wing rants, but I do feel the need to respond to Big Hank):

    The government is not interested in your phone conversations with your wife. But the government is very interested in monitoring phone conversations between the USA and Yemen, and domestic calls between Yemenis in the USA.. and also the phone calls of non-Yemenis who just happen to have visited Yemen recently, or are closely associated with Yemenis.

    Without FISA, this surveillance would be a lot more difficult. I think what happened with Obama, once he was president and had access to all the secret and classified information available to the president, he had to change his mind about FISA.

  8. Fran says:

    What’s that I hear???

    the Constitution being run through a shredder?

    So much for the 4th Amendment of the constitution~ protecting against unreasonable search & seizure.

    Between this & the not-so-Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations can contribute all they want (buy votes). ….

    It’s been a hellish week for democracy.

    No wonder I feel so depressed.

  9. libhomo says:

    It almost seems like Obama is deliberately trying to discourage Democrats from showing up at the polls in 2010 and 2012.

  10. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel won’t change until the Congress puts pressure on the agency to change course.

    This isn’t likely to happen as long as the American people scuttle commonsense and let themselves be hoodwinked into believing security threats are home grown and not foreign in origin.

  11. JollyRoger says:

    This ain’t working out. It’s time for us to get a divorce from DC.

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