Liz Cheney’s Big Question Is the Obama administration on the right side of national security?

March 18, 2010 08:50

‘This is an inefficient and dangerous way to run an antiterror bureaucracy that needs clarity and consistency.’


At the end of the street fight the lawyers’ tongs had over Liz Cheney’s “Al-Qaeda Seven” TV ad, we’ve agreed that common criminals have the right to an attorney. Thank heavens for that. The real question the ad raised was bigger than that: Is the Obama administration on the right side or wrong side of national security? That anyone should ask suggests a problem.

Hard as it is for some to believe, they do get some things right. The Afghan surge was the right call. The drone war is killing enemy without apology. Little noticed, the Holder Justice Department’s attorneys have defended the Bush warrantless wiretap policy—in a long-running lawsuit in San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit, and last month before the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, involving the tracking of cellphone locations.

And yet . . .

It is impossible to separate the good things done by a surprisingly good national security team, mostly overseas, from the actions and public statements on fighting terror at home by the men at the top: President Obama and Attorney General Holder. Every call seems to be a jump ball—closing Guantanamo, trial venues, reading airline bombers their Miranda rights.


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