Published on Friday, April 9, 2010 by The Nation
The Surveillance Regime
Ever since Barack Obama took office, accountability for rights violations during the "war on terror" has been thin. Victims of wrongful overseas detention, surveillance and torture have received no apology and no reparations. Despite an early commitment to close Guantánamo, 183 prisoners remain there. Indeed, Obama has released fewer detainees than Bush did during his last year in office. And despite an early promise to protect the First Amendment rights of Muslim charities, Obama has done nothing to change the onerous application of terrorism financing laws.
Continuity, not change, has characterized the conduct of Eric Holder's Justice Department.
Blaming the lawyers is easy. But it is the otherwise near-absolute absence of accountability that makes
It is not too late to win the political, or the moral, battle. It is not too late to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to explain that reckless and illegal incursions into privacy rights are no road to security. It is only by taking on that battle that the Obama administration, and not just a handful of voices on the federal bench, can produce the real change its lawyers have been fighting.
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