Greg Craig and State Secrets

Greg Sargent reports on Obama’s refusal to reveal whether he will support or oppose the State Secrets legislation in Congess. To which Mark Ambinder provides an even more telling response.

They no-commented me last week, and they’re stonewalling Greg Sargent this week: the White House refuses to say whether the President supports the State Secrets Protection Act in Congress.  As a candidate, Obama supported the principles espoused in a similar piece of legislation, but he did not sign on to the bill as a cosponsor.  My reporting leads me to believe that senior administration officials, including the White House counsel, Gregory Craig, oppose the current version of the legislation because they believe it would overturn an important, established precedent and weaken the ability of the president to protect national security. [my emphasis]

Yeah … Greg Craig … you think maybe he’s opposed to rolling back state secrets?

Mind you, Obama is 100% responsible for the policies his crappy advisors implement, so ultimately, Ambinder might as well have said, "Obama and his White House counsel" are opposed to the new bill. But Greg Craig was the guy reiterating the state secrets Bush had declared at a time before Eric Holder had been read into some of those questions. Greg Craig is the guy who refuses to go on the record to explain to what degree he’s got Obama following Bush on signing statements, too. 

Now, frankly, I don’t think it much matters what Clinton throwback Greg Craig (or for that matter, Obama) thinks about state secrets. As I suggested here and here, the courts are heading in precisely the same direction as Congress on this issue, and that’s before Vaughn Walker gets done with Obama’s Cheneyesque argumentation. So regardless of whether this is done via legislation or the courts, I suspect it will be done.

That said, Greg Craig has been a bumbling disaster since well before Obama won this election, putting a face of dishonesty on Obama’s stated better intentions. Along with this backwards embrace of state secrets, Obama’d do well to get rid of his reactionary White House counsel, too. 

21 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    I wonder if Craig has been taking advice from Fredo?

    I can’t see where else he could get so much “stupid”.

    Maybe Fredo has finally found a job after all.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup. That’s where the “bumbling disaster” link goes to.

      And I didn’t even beat him up for his crappy ass “investigation” of Rahm’s conversations with Blago, which left out his conversations with John Wyma that Rahm may well have to detail at length at Blago’s trial.

  2. chrisc says:

    Agree that this makes Obama look bad.
    But in the end, isn’t it better if congress or the courts deals with the issue.
    If it were up to the prez, each one will just enhance that power more than the last one did.

    • emptywheel says:


      And frankly, GC’s instinct seems to be to avoid any precedents. So he negotiates with Rove and HJC, rather than letting the courts rule against HJC. And he negotiates a deal on the Cheney emails.

      The courts seem to be heading in the right direction. Now if we coudl time the SCOTUS case to come after one of the conservatives retire…

  3. RevDeb says:

    Obama picked him and GC will tell him what he wants to hear—I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary.

    So much for the dawning of a new day.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Mr. Obama may have them. But as one of Harvard’s most distinguished law alumni, he’s well aware of the legal atrociites Mr. Bush created. Jis choice of advisers who want to “stay the course” and his decision to listen to them suggests he doesn’t want to correct that course. Does that make him a sheep in sheep’s clothing or something with longer teeth?

    • slide says:

      Obama plays the “bait and switch” game. He talks a good game but his actions are opposite. Eventually this strategy will come back and bite him in the ass. It is just a matter of time.

  5. worldwidehappiness says:

    emptywheel wrote:

    So regardless of whether this is done via legislation or the courts, I suspect it will be done.

    Then the Obamabots will say, “See, Obama fixed things! Because He is Fundamentally Good.”

  6. malcontent says:

    If I was writing a screenplay for this story and needed a plot device to shock my audience (America) into rapt attention, I would have Obama do a soliloquy as “The Decider” covering the differences between life as a senator and being the most powerful man in the world. Smiling and jeering the plebians with bushisms from beyond the law and closing with the line:

    “How do you like me now?”

    That may wake people up. It’s a crazy gamble but nothing else makes much sense about this reversal of position to me right now. The White House, after all, has access to *ALL* communications in the world right now. Do they know how to run that juggernaut yet or not? Biden surely has met his international assassination teams by now. Is Rahm updating his files?

  7. nellieh says:

    Isn’t this the guy that was involved in the Siegelman fiasco? Wasn’t there reporting of him talking to the lady that blew the whistle on the prosecutorial misconduct regarding the Siegelman trial? didn’t he supposedly give information to the other side? Apparently, he didn’t represent her but talked to her about the case?

  8. Mary says:

    6/7 Here’s the Daily Beast link…..-indicted/

    This part was interesting:

    … the Obama State Department has been in steady contact with the Spanish government about the case. Shortly after the case was filed on March 17, chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza was invited to the U.S. embassy in Madrid to brief members of the embassy staff about the matter. A person in attendance at the meeting described the process as “correct and formal.” The Spanish prosecutors briefed the American diplomats on the status of the case, how it arose, the nature of the allegations raised against the former U.S. government officials. The Americans “were basically there just to collect information,” the source stated.The Spanish prosecutors advised the Americans that they would suspend their investigation if at any point the United States were to undertake an investigation of its own into these matters. They pressed to know whether any such investigation was pending. These inquiries met with no answer from the U.S. side.

    I do think the main point about Craig is that he’s just a foil for Obama to use to deflect the criticism being aimed at the real Decider. It’s like all the heat that was deflected from Bush and onto Cheney, Rove, Fredo etc.

Comments are closed.