Bagram: Obama’s Gitmo?

Jake Tapper reports on how the ACLU is upset with the Obama administration with not being more forthcoming with information on military detainees who are being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan:

The White House declined to comment Tuesday about a letter sent by the American Civil Liberties Union asking why President Obama is refusing to make public information about the detainees imprisoned at the US military’s Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt forwarded a reporter to the Pentagon for comment. A spokesman for the Department of Defense told ABC News in a written statement that they responded to the ACLU FOIA request in a letter on July 28, 2009, citing reasons for partially denying the request, due to the need to protect classified information and for reasons of national security.

“We understand that the ACLU has subsequently appealed this decision on August 13th, but it will take some time for the department to review this and respond appropriately,” said the DOD spokesman. “The nature of war necessitates that some operational details remain classified. The Department of Defense will continue to be as transparent as possible while keeping in mind that classified information is legally protected from disclosure under FOIA.”


The ACLU sought information about the number of those detained, their names, citizenship, place of capture, length of detention, any information about any legal process afforded those prisoners to challenge their detention, and how they became designated “enemy combatants.”

In a stark contrast to President Obama’s promise of transparency, the Pentagon followed up in a July 28 letter by telling the ACLU that the Obama administration has basic information about the detainees – a 12-page list of individuals held at the Afghan camp as of June 22 — but is not going to share it.

As I’ve stated before in response to earlier reports of how the Obama administration plans to handle the military detention of terror suspects, I’m not critical in the least of the position they’ve taken on this issue. It’s very similar to the position the Bush administration took on the issue of military detainees – a position we all know was blasted on an almost daily basis by the the left – including Obama – and their pals in the mainstream press.

Yeah, the ACLU is in a snit about this, and I anticipate a 12 page post from Glenn Greenwald on the issue shortly – if it’s not up already – but in the end, President Obama will get a pass on this by those who have faithfully supported him through thick and thin, including most of the same liberal bloggers, pundits, newscasters, and various other liberal types all across the country who viewed President Bush and VP Cheney as nothing short of “war criminals” who should be “impeached” for “illegally” holding military detainees “without trial” during a time of war. What’s the difference between then and now? Well, Obama’s heart is in the right place, you see – and they (being the left) instinctively know that even though, in their eyes, President Obama is wrong on this issue, that he – unlike the evil W – won’t use these types of powers as a stepping stone to violate the rights of political enemies and other assorted varieties of people he doesn’t like.

And you know what? They’re partially right. He doesn’t need to use his presidential powers to violate the rights of his political opposition. He can just call on the union thugs at the SEIU, the AFL-CIO

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