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Obama Administration Blasted
For `Unitary Executive' Practices

April 5, 2010 (EIRNS)—Federal Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco on March 31 not only found that the Bush-Cheney Administration's wiretap program was illegal, but also blasted the Obama Administration's efforts to keep the illegal program secret. As with other Constitution-shredding policies of the Bush Administration, Obama campaigned against the wiretapping program (calling it "unconstitutional and illegal") while running for President, but once in office, he rapidly adopted the Bush-Cheney's abuses, and his Justice Department has vigorously defended the policies he once pretended to attack.

Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon: "Although news reports are focusing (appropriately) on the fact that Bush's NSA program was found to be illegal, the bulk of Judge Walker's opinion was actually a scathing repudiation of the Obama DOJ."

Greenwald pointed out that the Obama Administration adopted "the imperial and hubristic position that the court had no right whatsoever to rule on the legality of the program, because (a) plaintiffs could not prove they were subjected to the secret eavesdropping (and thus lacked 'standing' to sue) and (b) the NSA program was such a vital 'state secret' that courts were barred from adjudicating its legality."

As Shane Harris, the author of the new book The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, recently told EIR, nothing has changed from the Bush to the Obama administrations. In his book, Harris reports that after Obama took office, he was "conspicuously silent" on Bush's electronic surveillance policy, and that Obama "showed no inclination to dismantle a set of tools that his predecessor had regarded as the 'crown jewel' of America's counterterrorism arsenal."