I’ve been trying to shy away from this stuff, but rage overtakes me.
I think history will judge America harshly for the civil rights, judiciary, and administrative abuses we’ve allowed in the pursuit of combating a noun (‘terror’, if you’re not paying attention), but in the here and now what just kills me is trying to follow the tortured logic the Justice Department has exhibiting in fighting any and all oversight of the detainees (or as they should be more aptly called ‘prisoners’) at Guantanamo Bay.
To illustrate: The Justice Department is currently fighting against a court-ordered deadline after which the DoJ must share its evidence against those held with the prisoners’ attorneys. Leaving aside the ridiculous notion that a detained defendant nor their attorney aren’t allowed to see the evidence against them for the purpose of defense (which itself violates the 5th and 6th Amendments to the Constitution), the DoJ is arguing that revealing the evidence against those accused would “seriously disrupt the Nation’s intelligence-gathering programs” and cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security“. If by disrupt and cause damage they mean ‘expose the fact that we’re still very much using torture’, then I certainly don’t give a shit, but here’s the real kicker: They’re also arguing that they can’t meet the deadline because the evidence “is not readily available, nor can it be reasonably recompiled“, which is basically saying that the evidence is too widely dispersed within the various law-enforcement departments as to be impossible to gather.
Awesome! Next up, they’ll be arguing that Not Me is responsible for every boneheaded decision made by Justice. Oh wait, Gonzalez already used that…
In other GFD news, former QWEST CEO Joseph P. Nacchio (who was found guilty of insider trading) is asserting that the NSA approached his company about assisting in warrantless wiretapping more than six months before September 11th, 2001. If those statements are accurate, it would mean that the Bush Administration’s statements that their extra-legal surveillance programs were put into effect after 9/11 are wholly false. Hopefully it’ll influence some lawmakers who are currently debating whether to give the telecommunications industry a blanket protection from legal consequences stemming from their participation in warrantless wiretapping of US communications. (Here’s a simple primer: It was wrong, and they should be liable. End of story)
I’d love for these two things to be separate and unrelated instances of simple incompetence, but as this Slate article lays out, it’s a pattern of tortured logic for the sake of power that the DoJ (and the Bush administration as a whole) has been engaging in for 6 years now.