"This Betrayal of American Values Is Unnecessary"With those words, on September 28, 2006, Senator Barack Obama concluded a speech on the floor of the US Senate in reaction to Senate passage of S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, one of the most heinous and hated pieces of legislation ever put forward by the Bush Administration, which approved US torture of detainees and stripped Constitutional rights away from detainees.
Senator Obama decried the placement of politics over human rights, and rightfully condemned S. 3930:
"This is NOT how a serious Administration would approach the problem of terrorism," thundered Senator Barack Obama last week on the floor of the US Senate, after it passed Bush Administration-supported S. 3930, Military Commissions Act of 2006, which approved US torture of detainees and stripped Constitutional rights away from detainees.On November 04, 2008 Senator Obama was elected President of the United States, an election that was in large part repudiation of George Bush's unholy tactics in prosecuting his "war on terror".
"And the sad part about all of this is that this betrayal of American values is unnecessary," Senator Obama continued.
"We could've drafted a bipartisan, well-structured bill that provided adequate due process through the military courts, had an effective review process that would've prevented frivolous lawsuits being filed and kept lawyers from clogging our courts, but upheld the basic ideals that have made this country great."
Since the election Obama has begun putting together his administrative team of advisors.
His intelligence-transition team is led by former National Counterterrorism Center chief John Brennan and former CIA intelligence-analysis director Jami Miscik.
A Wall Street Journal article Tuesday, November 11, 2008 titled Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact describes new developments in the evolution of Obama's thinking since the election:
Brennan needs to go. Now.
Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.
Former National Counterterrorism Center chief John Brennan, leader of Obama's intelligence-transition team.
"He's going to take a very centrist approach to these issues," said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. "Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble."
On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama criticized many of President George W. Bush's counterterrorism policies. He condemned Mr. Bush for promoting "excessive secrecy, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping and 'enhanced interrogation techniques' like simulated drowning that qualify as torture through any careful measure of the law or appeal to human decency."
As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA's interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.
Yet he more recently voted for a White House-backed law to expand eavesdropping powers for the National Security Agency. Mr. Obama said he opposed providing legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided warrantless surveillance, but ultimately voted for the bill, which included an immunity provision.
The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.
The intelligence-transition team is led by former National Counterterrorism Center chief John Brennan and former CIA intelligence-analysis director Jami Miscik
Hat tip to Armando/Big Tent Democrat @ TakLeft: Obama Transition Team "Clarifies" Position On Torture: He May Be For It