Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at this point. But the latest example of the Obama administration mimicking the Bushies in opting for secrecy over openness feels like one of the most infuriating yet.
The Justice Department is declining to release Dick Cheney’s interview with federal investigators looking into the Valerie Plame leak, arguing — as it did under President Bush — that doing so would discourage future high-level officials from cooperating with criminal investigations.
The good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had filed a lawsuit seeking to have the interview released.
CREW points out in a press release that Cheney was never promised confidentiality in the investigation. And its executive director, Melanie Sloan, notes:
It is astonishing that a top Department of Justice political appointee is suggesting other high-level appointees are unlikely to cooperate with legitimate law enforcement investigations. What is wrong with this picture?
It’s really hard to see how this stance jibes with the president’s much-hyped claim, upon taking office, that his administration would privilege transparency. In several previous instances where the Obama-ites have opted for secrecy — such as the controversy over photos that show detainee abuse — there was at least an argument to be made that the path of openness would endanger American troops or otherwise threaten national security.
In this case, no such argument can be made.