Sunday, December 14, 2008


Here's a story I just don't understand: the Justice Department is apparently refusing to allow the Obama transition team to examine the classified legal memos that sanctioned NSA wiretapping of US citizens and the CIA torture of terrorist suspects. This follows on the heels of the rumor that Mike Griffin, the head of NASA, is also refusing to cooperate with the Obama transition team, claiming they aren't technically qualified to judge the merits of NASA's program's.

Assuming these rumors are true, I fundamentally don't get this approach. If you've got a new boss coming in who you think is likely to torpedo your favorite program, the best approach has to be to make a strong case for those programs, not to deny him or her access to the information or to claim that he or she doesn't know enough to make a call on whether these programs are good. I mean, Obama's going to be the boss in five-six weeks--all that blocking his team access to information is going to do is sow ill will that will increase the chance that they will reverse these policies.

This seems like such a bureaucratically self-evident observation, that it casts doubt on whether these stories can possibly be true. (Indeed, Griffin is vigorously denying any rift with the incoming administration--although there seems to be litle doubt that there are sharp policy differences.

Then again, maybe these guys are simply trying to cause as much trouble as possible in order to disrupt Obama's ability to govern. Seems like you have to assume that they are both malign and stupid in order for that to be the case.

No comments: