Department of WTF
Harper’s Scott Horton links to footage from an interview that General Petraeus gave to Fox News, in which he argued in favor of the release of the remaining photographs showing alleged prisoner abuse. Says Horton:
Petraeus argued in favor of release, saying “Let’s lance this boil.” He feared that the damage from withholding the photos would be greater than that from releasing them, because it would fuel suspicions that the photos are worse than they are. General Ray Odierno took the opposing view, and Obama sided with Odierno, although my sources say this is strictly a timing decision, and that Obama fully intends ultimately to release the photos.
That last bit seems somewhat optimistic. At Salon, Glenn Greenwald points out that Obama is actively supporting a new bill, sponsored by Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, called The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009. Greenwald explains:
[This bill] literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any “photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.” As long as the Defense Secretary certifies — with no review possible — that disclosure would “endanger” American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure. The certification lasts 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.
If this is what the Obama administration calls transparency, can you imagine what obfuscation might look like?