ACLU: Obama's national security policies just like Bush'sSubmitted by bobbyw24 on Sat, 07/31/2010 - 15:17
The ACLU on Thursday excoriated President Obama for continuing the Bush administration's strictest national security policies, including indefinite detention, military commissions and a "targeted kill" program that authorizes the government to take out suspected terrorists anywhere.
The American Civil Liberties Union warned Mr. Obama, in a report based on a review of his 18 months in office, that his administration was on course to institutionalize the policies of his predecessor. The ACLU was a fierce critic of President George W. Bush's war on terror.
Failing to overturn those and other contentious tactics risks the creation of a "new normal," the ACLU argued in the report, which looked at administration policies it says implicate human rights and civil liberties.
"President Obama began his presidency with a bang, signing executive orders that placed the power of the presidency behind the restoration of the rule of law and gave meaning to the president's stated view that America must lead with its values," said Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU's executive director. "Unfortunately, since that time, the administration has displayed a decidedly mixed record resulting, on a range of issues, in the very real danger that the Obama administration will institutionalize some of the most troublesome policies of the previous administration."
The ACLU praised Mr. Obama, however, for putting an end to the use of so-called enhanced-interrogation techniques and for publishing Bush-era memos outlining their legal justifications in the name of transparency.
Indeed, Mr. Obama signed two sweeping executive orders upon taking office that sought to undo some of Mr. Bush's most controversial policies: outlawing tactics he deemed as torture and ordering the closure of the prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Both steps were widely hailed by civil liberties groups, but implementation of the latter has proved elusive as Congress has thwarted Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. from following through on the effort.