The Administration’s Half-Striptease of Anwar al-Awlaki’s Rotting Corpse

This article, which claims the “Obama administration is planning to reveal publicly the legal reasoning behind its decision to kill” Anwar al-Awlaki, also reveals that Administration debates about whether to do so likened such necessary transparency to a “Full Monty.”

It came down to what Denis McDonough, the deputy national-security adviser, cheekily called the “half Monty” versus the “full Monty,” after the British movie about a male striptease act.

Though it looks like, instead of real disclosure, the Administration is mooning us. They’ve decided to provide some of the legal argument–which Charlie Savage already gave us. But none of the actual proof that Awlaki was what they have claimed in anonymous quotes to journalists: an operational leader.

An early draft of Holder’s speech identified Awlaki by name, but in a concession to concerns from the intelligence community, all references to the al Qaeda leader were removed. As currently written, the speech makes no overt mention of the Awlaki operation, and reveals none of the intelligence the administration relied on in carrying out his killing. (White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment).

This is simply an asinine compromise. We all know the Administration killed Awlaki. We all know the Administration used a drone strike to do so. Savage’s article surely provides far more detail on the legal argument than they’ll give in a speech.

The problem–the problem that strikes at the very heart of democratic accountability–is that the Administration plans to keep secret the details that would prove (or not) that Awlaki was what the Administration happily claims he is under the veil of anonymity, all while claiming that precisely that information is a state secret.

The Administration seems to be planning on making a big speech on counterterrorism–hey! it’s another opportunity to brag again about offing Osama bin Laden!–without revealing precisely those details necessary to distinguish this killing, and this country, from that of an unaccountable dictator.

The CIA seems to have dictated to our democratically elected President that he can’t provide the kind of transparency necessary to remain a democracy. We can kill you–they appear to be planning to say–and we’ll never have to prove that doing so was just. You’ll just have to trust us!

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+3Email to someone

12 Responses to The Administration’s Half-Striptease of Anwar al-Awlaki’s Rotting Corpse

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @OKnox What kind of dope schedules a big scoop during Benghazzzzzzzsnore? @Ali_Gharib
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Lunch at the Beeline Cafe in Payson. Mmmmmm!
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @laRosalind @emptywheel Guillotine
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @boulderdrop Well, as I said, I don't feel comfortable in Cabelas, and I'm an affluent white. I think it's a cultural issue first & foremost
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BrentHalonen1 Yup. Sort of like, "why would you carry all your food in freeze dried form when it's here for the taking?"
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @TimothyS: Here's where you can find my FDL book salon with @JamesRisen and PAY ANY PRICE today at 5pm EST: http://t.co/9R98Kaa3qW
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BrentHalonen1 But there's a kind of hyper-competence hunters have that even avid backpackers don't coincide with. So that's source, I think
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BrentHalonen1 I'm pretty comfortable in typical white male midwestern culture: I don't have kids, drink beer, played rugby, watch football
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BrentHalonen1 Mostly I think they were in their element and everything about us made it clear we weren't. No unfriendliness tho (it was WI)
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BrentHalonen1 I know fair amount of women who were raised and trained into hunting culture, not even the rich kind. But I grew up in burbs.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @BrentHalonen1 Even my spouse and (non-hunting) dog. Plus we wanted to see Pats game even after big Packers win. Fish outta water.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @jlassen Yup. I've lived in both and I agree. Relatively lots more $$ invested on toys with big motors here, I think.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
January 2012
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031