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A Case For Sunshine: Scrutiny Over Secrecy On Bush Records

Stephen Aftergood has a fantastic piece at Nieman Watchdog on the need for learning all the lessons of the Bush years — including all the ones that George and Dick and their crazy for classification chums have been working so hard to keep under wraps:

…The next President will have the authority to declassify and disclose any and all records that reflect the activities of executive branch agencies. Although internal White House records that document the activities of the outgoing President and his personal advisers will be exempt from disclosure for a dozen years or so, every Bush Administration decision that was actually translated into policy will have left a documentary trail in one or more of the agencies, and all such records could be disclosed at the discretion of the next President.

A new President may find it advantageous to quickly distinguish himself (or herself) from the current Administration and its policies. By exposing what is “shameful” in our recent past the new Administration could demonstrate a clean break with its predecessor, and lay the foundation for a more transparent and accountable Presidency….  (emphasis mine)

Here’s to more and more sunshine. Because no decent, law-abiding and moral person should allow the Cheney performance cheering on torture and decimation of the rule of law to a standing ovation at CPAC today, or the Hayden torture is back on the menu pronouncement to define "American values."  Or this:

"Tens of thousands of American Air Force and naval airmen were waterboarded as part of their survival training," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We don’t maim as part of our training. We don’t mutilate. We don’t sodomize. Those are things that are always bad. . . . Intellectually, there has got to be a difference between [waterboarding] and the others; otherwise we wouldn’t have done it in training."

"American interrogation — we no longer sodomize but we’re sure as heck fire willing to waterboard our own for simulated torture training, so that makes it a-okay to do to you" isn’t exactly something you want plastered on billboards across the globe to win hearts and minds, now is it?  Never mind that it is still against the law…or that this systematic, demented policy produces unreliable intelligence

Is it 2009 yet?

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com