Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lying S.O.B. - Updated & Verified

Obama is hiding behind a baseless FOIA defense to refuse declassification of the memos Dick Cheney claims will show that waterboarding worked and saved thousands, if not hundreds of thousand, of innocent lives. Obama rode to power in part on making this national security question a partisan campaign issue. Obama clearly wants to win this critical debate by having only his very partisan side heard, and he is not above lying to the public to get his way.

Obama and the far left have made a huge issue out of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques. Lives of Americans did, and no doubt will again, hang on our national decision on that issue. Obama and the far left claim absolute moral authority on this issue (something only members of the far left can ever achieve) and further assert that waterboarding does not work. The former Vice President and every CIA Chief since 9-11 says otherwise.

Obama released carefully redacted OLC memos in order to show how evil the Bushies were, with the legal opinons on waterboarding visible but the portions blacked out that allegedly discuss the vital information gotten by waterboarding. The former Vice President, Dick Cheney, called President Obama on this, requesting the declassification of two documents to allow the public to judge for themselves in this debate.

Fox News is now reporting that Obama is refusing to allow the documents requested by Cheney to be declassified, ostensibly becasue they are subject to FOIA litigation. If that is true - and I do not yet have independent verification of that - then it is pure bull. It is a flouting of the FOIA law for Obama's political purposes. Why - because the four OLC memos Obama ordered released to kick off this witchhunt of the Bush administration were also the subject of the same FOIA litigation. In other words, Obama can order these memos declassified at any time. Bottom line, if the Fox News report is accurate, Obama should be crucified (appropriate for the One, eh) in the media. Republicans should be lined up before every microphone they can find to attack this most disingenous man.

Update 1&2: Both NRO and the Weekly Standard have verified all of the particulars above. Says NRO's Andrew McCarthy of this utterly transparent FOIA defense:

On May 7, 2009, the CIA’s information and privacy coordinator, an executive-branch employee, denied Cheney’s FOIA request. Remarkably, the administration’s position is that the documents sought are excluded from declassification because they “contain information that is the subject of pending litigation.” Two pending cases were cited: Bloche v. Department of Defense and Amnesty International v. Central Intelligence Agency. A review of these cases underscores that the Obama administration is playing crass politics.

The Bloche case (No. 07-2050) was filed in the District of Columbia two years ago. As the presiding judge has explained, “This case arises from a series of [FOIA] . . . requests made by plaintiffs to various federal agencies. . . . In these requests, plaintiffs seek ‘to compel the defendants to release records relating to the participation of doctors and other healthcare professionals in the interrogation of military prisoners and individuals detained by the United States government on the basis of alleged terrorist activities.’”

The Amnesty International case, which is pending in the Southern District of New York, also was filed in 2007. According to the complaint, Amnesty is seeking a broad array of information related to the rendition and interrogation of high-value terrorist detainees.

Obviously, the redacted memoranda that President Obama released on April 16 were every bit as much “the subject of pending FOIA litigation” as is the information that the Obama administration now is suppressing. The government could have withheld all the information, but there is no reason — other than politics — to disclose some of it while withholding the rest.

This is not “the rule of law.” It is the whim of the administration in the service of an ideological agenda. It is the opposite of transparency. Worse, it is the brute politicization of FOIA, the judicial process, and our national security. . . .

And this from the Weekly Standard:

The Obama administration has turned down former Vice President Dick Cheney’s request for the declassification of two CIA reports on the effectiveness of the Agency’s detainee program, THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned. A letter dated May 7, 2009, from the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, Delores M. Nelson, rejected Cheney’s request because the documents he has requested are involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle.

. . . White House officials have told reporters and members of Congress that the Cheney memos do not bolster the case for enhanced interrogation, as Cheney has suggested. But they have nonetheless refused to release them. President Obama has the legal authority to declassify the documents “with the wave of his hand,” according to one expert.

Initially, Obama administration officials seemed open to releasing the Cheney memos. Representative Frank Wolf asked Attorney General Eric Holder about the Cheney memos during at House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on April 23. Holder said he had not seen the documents. But added: “It is certainly the intention of this administration not to play hide and seek or not to release certain things in a way that is not consistent with other things. It is not our intention to try to advance a political agenda or to hide things from the American people.”

But that is exactly what critics, with some justification, contend the administration has done. . . .

. . . A senior Bush administration official points to the irony of Obama administration’s position -- using a FOIA technicality to block the public disclosure of information.

“So, because Amnesty International has filed a broad FOIA request for detainee related materials, the American people are unable to see memos that document the effectiveness of our detainee program. Wouldn’t the legal memos previously released also, presumably, have been subject to this FOIA? Why wasn’t their release blocked under the same provision?”

Read the entire post. Justifying withholding these documents on the basis of FOIA litigation is cynical beyond belief in light of the release of the carefully redacted OLC memos. It makes a mockery of the FOIA law, it wholly undercuts Obama's claim to the moral high ground, and it calls directly into question Obama's claim that the documents requested by Cheney do not definitively establish either the need for waterboarding or its value. Moreover, this makes the fact that Obama's thugs continue to pursue a course of action that may see the disbarment of OLC lawyers an utterly groutesqe political witchhunt. More importantly, it means that Obama, for his own partisan purposes, is denying the nation a free and fair debate on critical issue of waterboarding.

Update 2: The MSM is wholly covering for the President. The NYT doesn't even have a print story on this. The Washington Post's article is wholly misleading, failing to mention that Obama could declassify these documents immediately, and indeed, concludes with yet another quote from a Democrat who claims to have reviewed the documents in question and assessed that they do not support what Cheney claims. These are the lying sob's covering for the lying sob.

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