Obama Looking for Structures to Ensure He Abides by Rule of Law


Noah Shachtman does a good job of fact checking Obama’s claims about his drone program in a recent interview with Jessica Yellin.

But I’d like to push further on his comments about Obama’s claims to give Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan (to say nothing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki) due process by pointing to the way he ends this bit:

Our most powerful tool over the long term to reduce the terrorist threat is to live up to our values and to be able to shape public opinion not just here but around the world that senseless violence is not a way to resolve political differences. And so it’s very important for the President and for the entire culture of our national security team to continually ask tough questions about, are we doing the right thing? Are we abiding by rule of law? Are we abiding by due process? And then set up structures and institutional checks so that you avoid any kind of slippery slope into a place where we’re not being true to who we are.

Having started by saying that drones are just a tool, he ends up by saying that we will vanquish terrorism by upholding our values–rule of law and due process.

And then the Constitution Professor President describes “set[ting] up structures and institutional checks” to make sure that we deliver rule of law and due process.

This, from the guy whose Administration refused to litigate a suit from Anwar al-Awlaki’s father to make sure it was upholding the standards Obama claimed in this interview in Awlaki’s case.

This, from the guy whose Administration has claimed state secrets to make sure no court can review the claims of people who have been rendered or tortured or illegally wiretapped.

This, from the guy who wouldn’t do the politically difficult things to have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed tried–and surely, convicted–before a civilian court in NYC.

He’s looking for structures and institutional checks to make sure we don’t go down that slippery slope where we forget rule of law. And yet his Administration has repeatedly avoided the one mandated by the Constitution: courts.

Which, according to his own logic, means he’s not using the tool that would best work to keep us safe from terrorism.

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19 Responses to Obama Looking for Structures to Ensure He Abides by Rule of Law

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Huh. Former leader of the Democratic party calls out head of Democratic party for "terrorizing" the press. BREAKING.
1mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Mondale: This Admin has been tougher on the press than any other in history. Has terrorized the press. http://t.co/a2YdmcjGus
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Fritz Schwarz calling out @Thomas_Drake1 and Ed Snowden for important whistleblowers. http://t.co/a2YdmcjGus
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @OKnox Irony is too dead.
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Mondale: Fisc can be a private supreme court for the agencies. http://t.co/a2YdmcjGus
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Of course who am I fooling? If DOJ takes out a bank for money laundering for FIFA, it'll be a foreign bank used as an example.
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel It would be ironic if JPMC got busted for money laundering for FIFA but not for terrorists bc DOJ could tell us abt the former. I'd take it.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @biasedreporter Yes. Probably not a big deal.
13mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @p2wy: My 5 year old has rekindled my love of numismatics. Dug out my old collection and am tempted to take him to a proper coin shop on…
31mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel In fact, I would bet a good chunk of change Roving Wiretap provision focused squarely on Tor users generally.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Even the phone dragnet can be used w/Iranian targets. But Section 215 prolly used against hackers as much as terrorists.
35mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dametzger Bulk IS limited, though they do use it against Iran, as well as terrorist targets.
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