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"Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact":
Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal reports:
  President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.
  Civil-liberties groups were among those outraged that the White House sanctioned the use of harsh intelligence techniques -- which some consider torture -- by the Central Intelligence Agency, and expanded domestic spy powers. These groups are demanding quick action to reverse these policies.
  Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.
  "He's going to take a very centrist approach to these issues," said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. "Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble."
As I noted yesterday in yesterday's thread on Gitmo, the devil is in the details. But this sounds promising to me. Thanks to commenter wyswyg for the link.
Terrivus:
According to Glenn Greenwald, I suppose this would make Obama an "apologist" for "lawlessness," right?
11.11.2008 3:36pm
tsotha:
Gee, what a shock. Turns out governing is a whole lot more complicated then carping form the peanut gallery.
11.11.2008 3:37pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Wait... I'm confused. What about Bushitler? What about the dark night of fascism?

I guess it's another case of "Oops ...nevermind!" I suspect that Hillary's a little bit peeved right about now.
11.11.2008 3:43pm
Arkady:
Of course, this in no way means "the use of harsh intelligence techniques" will continue. I pretty sure they won't.
11.11.2008 3:48pm
Houston Lawyer:
Say together now "Four legs good, two legs better".
11.11.2008 3:49pm
tsotha:
Ah yes, Terrivus, but would Obama be a leading apologist? I mean, he's like, a year behind the curve. You have to give the leaders their due.
11.11.2008 3:49pm
wm13:
Prof. Kerr will always be MY leading apologist for the Bush administration. No one can replace him in my heart.
11.11.2008 3:53pm
Baseballhead (mail):
There goes that crazy, untrustworthy radical Obama, tearing down the walls of Western civilization again. We're unsafe! We're vulnerable! That Obama, he's crazy, I tell you! CRAZY!

Now, what does the article say?
11.11.2008 4:07pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

Now, what does the article say?


that if you believe the rhetoric during an election, you are an idiot. :)


this one is especially great because it cuts both ways - negating the non-sense about bush the fascist and obama the manchurian candidate.
11.11.2008 4:17pm
tsotha:
Now, what does the article say?

It says "this is not the Barack Obama you thought you knew". Heh heh.
11.11.2008 4:18pm
MarkField (mail):

According to Glenn Greenwald, I suppose this would make Obama an "apologist" for "lawlessness," right?


Rather than speculating, you can see what Greenwald thinks here (update III).
11.11.2008 4:18pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal have events scheduled in Iowa. The 2012 cycle has begun.
11.11.2008 4:22pm
American Psikhushka (mail):
"Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble."

Well it's a good thing that libertarianism is on a separate axis and therefore isn't "right-wing". All one has to realize is that high taxes and big government take money out of the private economy and deplete the capital stock, slowing down economic growth and development, making society as a whole poorer. And that you shouldn't use force or fraud on anyone. Boy am I glad that libertarianism isn't extremist. Those dirty extremists scare me.
11.11.2008 4:31pm
Anderson (mail):
Skepticism is in short supply, it seems.

We can glean that the article tells us what *some* people would *like* the policies to be. Those people's authority to speak on behalf of, or bind, the incoming administration ... not so clear.

In any event, if President Obama permits torture, then he will have Anderson to deal with. You see how I drove out Bush and Cheney after two terms of office. Tremble, torturers!
11.11.2008 4:31pm
dr:

"What about Bushitler? What about the dark night of fascism?"


Great point. Someone needs to dig up Obama's big Bushitler speech from Iowa and really shove it in his face. Obama clearly ran on a platform of "radical leftward lurch you can believe in," which is why the 53% of americans who make up the extreme left wing of this nation voted for him.

Man are they going to be disappointed.
11.11.2008 4:36pm
cbyler (mail):
Sigh... I remember when opposition to torture and the idea that the President should obey federal law *were* considered "very centrist" in this country. And I'm not even that old.

WTF happened to our country?
11.11.2008 4:36pm
JoeSixpack (mail):
They had no trouble digging up intelligence on Joe the Plumber, why should they treat international terrorists any better?
11.11.2008 4:38pm
Anderson (mail):
the idea that the President should obey federal law

Down in Jackson, MS, whose mayor is about to go on trial in federal court for warrantless entry &destruction of an alleged crack house, I found this quotation remarkable:

Without explicitly saying what he did, [Mayor] Melton has long defended his actions that night on the grounds that the house was a "crack house" and he was acting as the chief law enforcement officer of the city.

But [U.S. district judge Dan] Jordan signaled his intention early to keep arguments focused on the constitutional questions at hand.

"I'm not persuaded by that argument. Being commander in chief of the United States doesn't allow you to violate the Fourth Amendment," Jordan said.


How did THAT guy get nominated by the present administration? Paging David Addington!

(Thanks again btw to Prof. Kerr for the Angler recommendation -- just finished it &it was a depressing read indeed.)
11.11.2008 4:43pm
tsotha:
We can glean that the article tells us what *some* people would *like* the policies to be. Those people's authority to speak on behalf of, or bind, the incoming administration ... not so clear.

Trial balloons. From what I can see the Obama trial-balloon launcher is working overtime in the last couple days. This is sort of SOP for a guy who's trying to order his priorities.
11.11.2008 4:52pm
Anderson (mail):
Trial balloons.

Right, but I wouldn't assume they're coming from Obama.

I *am* quite worried that no one in his organization has kept up with the issue. Knowing that anyone close to him had actually read Ron Suskind and Jane Mayer would cheer me up.
11.11.2008 4:54pm
just me (mail):
Actually this is one area where I think a slow approach and listening closely to qualified advisors is in order. There are some things that need changing, but how radical a change and how soon are important steps.

I do wonder how much Obama can leave in place before he starts getting hit with it-especially on the issue of torture and the spying (although in the end I bet he leaves the spying stuff in place, because I think that one has mostly been over blown by the left and hard libertarians anyway).
11.11.2008 4:58pm
Anderson (mail):
On "the spying stuff," I think the problem was always the illegality, not the invasiveness of the searches. (Though as Prof. Kerr's post on Google, supra, indicates, there's potential for abuse.)

If what they're doing is legit, I don't see why Congress can't legalize it, subject to rather closer oversight (from an independent board, not from a partisan Congress) than we've seen.
11.11.2008 5:07pm
MarkField (mail):

On "the spying stuff," I think the problem was always the illegality, not the invasiveness of the searches.


I'd qualify this only to say that certainly the invasiveness of the search was always a separate issue. I may or may not agree with the extent of search permitted, but I certainly objected to the violation of existing law.
11.11.2008 5:27pm
Anderson (mail):
I may or may not agree with the extent of search permitted

Well, yeah, since we may not actually know what that extent was. I'm merely guessing that it was some kind of data mining that would indeed be politically acceptable to Congress.
11.11.2008 5:29pm
DDG:
Promise all things to all people and you're bound to leave some disappointed.
11.11.2008 5:32pm
Viceroy:
I'm curious to see if his policies on openness/transparency differs from GW's. It would be tough not to, but we'll see.
11.11.2008 5:46pm
winstontwo (mail):

"Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact . . this sounds promising to me."

So for those of you keeping score at home, Mr. Kerr is NOT an apologist for the Bush Administration's abuses of power, but he thinks it is a good idea not to change those policies.
11.11.2008 5:51pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I wouldn't put much stock in these stories based on unnamed sources. Often, this is nothing more than lobbying for whatever position THE SOURCE wants Obama to take.
11.11.2008 5:55pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
<blockquote>
So for those of you keeping score at home, Mr. Kerr is NOT an apologist for the Bush Administration's abuses of power, but he thinks it is a good idea not to change those policies.
</blockquote>


the 'gotchas' are gonna make your head spin if you try too hard on this one.

obama = more of the same (i wish there was a cute way to turn obama into something mindless like McSame)
11.11.2008 6:27pm
Anderson (mail):
i wish there was a cute way to turn obama into something mindless like McSame

Obusha.
11.11.2008 6:42pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

i wish there was a cute way to turn obama into something mindless like McSame

Obusha.


first google hit

[sarcasm/]you are discovered![\sarcasm]
11.11.2008 7:05pm
just me (mail):
I'm curious to see if his policies on openness/transparency differs from GW's. It would be tough not to, but we'll see.

If Obama's openess with the press during his campaign is any indication I suspect he will be either the same or maybe worse when it comes to transparency.
11.11.2008 7:33pm
DDG:

i wish there was a cute way to turn obama into something mindless like McSame

Obusha.



Oh there are some better ones. Obambi and Hopey McChange come to mind.
11.11.2008 7:58pm
Anderson (mail):
first google hit

Yah, I googled it after I posted the comment. Nothing like Google to crush any illusion of originality one might harbor.

Oh there are some better ones. Obambi and Hopey McChange come to mind.

Those aren't better, is the problem. They don't convey the impression of "more of the same" as requested. Whatever one thinks of Bush, one is unlikely to satirize him as "Bambi."

And "Hopey McChange" simply suggests that one has not bothered to do any inquiry into any Obama policy proposals, which do, in fact, exist.
11.11.2008 9:26pm
OrinKerr:
WinstonTwo,

If you read the story, you will see that Obama does not plan to continue any radical and abusive Bush policies.
11.11.2008 11:29pm
winstontwo (mail):
So the programs will be "largely intact" just minus the torture and stuff?

That's a bit like saying that Disneyland will be "largely intact" but that you're going to behead Mickey Mouse.

Or something.
11.13.2008 1:04am
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
Yes, the details...such as there being no staffing and no budget for the intelligence departments, just "intact policies". Works for me....not!
11.18.2008 2:55pm