Peeking Under Cheney's Hood


Civil libertarian great Nat Hentoff has a newish Village Voice column up demonstrating why he is always among the alt-weekly writers most worth seeking out, especially during Democratic administrations. It's on the intruiging topic of "What Obama Doesn't Know"–especially about the Bush Administration's darker arts. Excerpt:

How many […] shadow sympathizers will remain deep in the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security—and […] in the omnivorous National Security Agency, with its creatively designed submarine that, on the bottom of the ocean floor, will be tapping into foreign cables carrying overseas communications, including those of Americans?

Will the Obama sleuths be able to peer into plans of the military Special Operations forces around the world, whose SWAT-style moves can quickly inflame even our allies? Covertly authorized four years ago by Donald Rumsfeld, these warriors are empowered to attack secretly any apparent terrorist venture, anywhere. No press allowed.

Will the new president, cognizant of the proliferation of retaliatory nuclear arms, presumably among our enemies, insist on signing off on each of those Special Operations forays?

Back at home, will President Obama order the countermanding of the FBI's return to the unbounded surveillance practices of J. Edgar Hoover? In an order implemented as recently as this December—by FBI Director Robert Mueller (who says he'd like to stay on) and Attorney General Michael Mukasey—the FBI can start an investigation without requiring any evidence of wrongdoing. That is not change we can believe in.

Whole thing, well worth reading, here. Reason on Hentoff here, including a February 2004 interview with Julian Sanchez about the PATRIOT Act.

In related, mostly-under-the-radar news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that "the Obama team is weighing whether to propose the creation of a domestic intelligence agency."