Here’s what Obama said on 60 minutes last night:
Sounds pretty firm and decisive. And oh-so moral.
But what are his surrogates saying? Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has been keeping an eye on that for us. On the Interrogation front, it seems that Obama may be moving away from his past position of supporting a bill that would have placed the CIA under the same set of restrictions as the Department of Defense:
The Wall Street Journal, citing a “current government official familiar with the transition,” reported this week that “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.”
What happened when John McCain took that exact same position?
Morrissey reminds us:
In February, the national media castigated John McCain for supposedly betraying his opposition to torture when he opposed the Dianne Feinstein bill that would have imposed the AFM as the gold standard for non-torture. Columnists around the country accused McCain of pandering to the Republican base after having wrapped up the nomination for all intents and purposes. They attacked his honor without understanding the issues involved in that particular bill and what it would mean for intelligence gathering.
Something tells me “The One” will be given a pass.
As far as closing GITMO goes, there are signs that a more nuanced approach is taking shape, on that, too:
…as Mr. Obama moves closer to assuming responsibility for Guantánamo, his pledge to close the detention center is bringing to the fore thorny questions under consideration by his advisers. They include where Guantánamo’s detainees could be held in this country, how many might be sent home and a matter that people with ties to the Obama transition team say is worrying them most: What if some detainees are acquitted or cannot be prosecuted at all?
That concern is at the center of a debate among national security, human rights and legal experts that has intensified since the election. Even some liberals are arguing that to deal realistically with terrorism, the new administration should seek Congressional authority for preventive detention of terrorism suspects deemed too dangerous to release even if they cannot be successfully prosecuted.
“You can’t be a purist and say there’s never any circumstance in which a democratic society can preventively detain someone,” said one civil liberties lawyer, David D. Cole, a Georgetown law professor who has been a critic of the Bush administration.
So what happens when the incoming Obama administration decides to continue indefinite detention and back away from Feinstein’s bill on interrogation techniques? Not only will the MoveOn/Code Pink crowd utterly revolt, but it will force a re-evaluation of the Bush administration’s efforts to keep this nation safe from attack — and the success he had in doing so.
That may just be wishful thinking on his part. One can certainly hope that saner heads prevail, but that’s not a given.