Remember in May 2009 when the White House reversed its position on the now infamous torture photos? President Obama, Eric Holder, and the Department of Justice made the claim that we must have an open and honest government, promising to unveil any evidence of torture and those responsible would be “dealt with” appropriately. President Obama then reversed the position after a few meetings with high ranking CIA, FBI, and military officials. Obama suggested the reasoning was that the photos were not an imperative part of the investigation and said, “the most direct consequence of releasing them…would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.” People were outraged and bloggers like Glenn Greenwald wrote it down. There was a speech. And a week later, it was over—in the media, at least. Civil liberties withstood two blows to their redemption last week when the House passed an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act to suppress the release of the photos, and a federal court ruled the detainee statements of abuse do not need to see the light of day. In the ACLU press release on the court ruling, Ben Wizner is quoted:
The court’s ruling allows the government to continue suppressing these first-hand accounts of torture—not to protect any legitimate national security interest, but to protect current and former government officials from accountability. While much is known about the Bush administration’s torture program, the CIA continues to censor the most important eyewitnesses —the torture victims themselves.
Are we missing something? Perhaps the media and outraged people? Is Louise Slaughter (D-NY) the only Congressperson we have to speak out for the people’s right to know and the right of the accused to confront whomever may indict them?