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
bmaz RT @nancyleong: Great post by @IlyaSomin on why #samesexmarriage bans are sex discrimination: http://t.co/tO2AnhSXkP #marriageequality
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Bob McCulloch’s grand jury charade: County Prosecutor shows how to not get an indictment http://t.co/f7neebxQlr via @tweetmeme
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @TheBradBlog @billmon1 In some civil circumstances, yes, but very far from all. As to criminal, the remedy is pretty much political.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @stephenlemons @FredDuVal Just saw independent as, presumably dark funded, on Duval "releasing terrorists". Pukeworthy.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @erinscafe The furry picture should lead all reports though.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Ooof. Hope you have enough coffee and/or bourbon.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Sure. But that is exactly why the patina of "legality" is so illusory in this discussion.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog And that applies to torture, extrajudicial killing, banksters, illegal surveillance, and a whole host of issues.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog The problem, as with so much is the political acts that beget such use/nonuse of discretion.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Right. Failure to prosecute/hold accountable for Senate incursion is technically legal as prosecutorial discretion.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @WSJ: At 79, Jerry Lee Lewis just released his 41st studio album. Listen here: http://t.co/rAJMtCwvpX http://t.co/IVJYFJ10VM
5hreplyretweetfavorite
January 2012
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031