For two years on the presidential campaign trail, Barack Obama rallied crowds with strongly worded critiques of the Bush administration’s most controversial counterterrorism programs, from hiding terrorism suspects in secret Central Intelligence Agency jails to questioning them with methods he denounced as torture.
Now Mr. Obama must take charge of the C.I.A., in what is already proving to be one of the more treacherous patches of his transition to the White House…
During the presidential campaign, a constant theme for Mr. Obama was the need to restore “American values” to the fight against terrorism. He pledged to banish secret C.I.A. interrogation rules and require all American interrogators to follow military guidelines, set out in the Army Field Manual on interrogation…
But even some senior Democratic lawmakers who are vehement critics of the Bush administration’s interrogation policies seemed reluctant in recent interviews to commit the new administration to following the Army Field Manual in all cases.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who will take over as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in January, led the fight this year to force the C.I.A. to follow military interrogation rules. Her bill was passed by Congress but vetoed by President Bush.
But in an interview on Tuesday, Mrs. Feinstein indicated that extreme cases might call for flexibility. “I think that you have to use the noncoercive standard to the greatest extent possible,” she said, raising the possibility that an imminent terrorist threat might require special measures.
No, no, no. Don’t they know there are no good reasons for torture? Come on! Where are all the left-wingers on this one? As Orrin Judd notes,
It doesn’t matter what terrorists know, it matters whether W or the UR (Unicorn Rider, i.e., Barack Obama) is the one finding it out. Exquisite.
So much for principle.
UPDATE: Infamous sock puppeteer Glenn Greenwald is also disturbed that certain key Democrats have gone wobbly regarding the “Bush torture regime.” Do we get to start calling it the “Obama torture regime” if Dems don’t pursue their original legislation after January 20?