Though improved in some respects, the revived commissions are still characterized by a startling level of secrecy. In an effort to conceal details of defendants' torture while in CIA custody, the government has designed the commissions to prevent defense teams from obtaining or publicly discussing information about the torture program.
Whether you applaud his efforts in casting a light on the dark inner workings of the uber-secret NSA and their surveillance apparatus, or if you feel that he deserves the special moniker of 'terrorist' for shining such a light, either position glosses over a problematic issue that hasn't been brought up to my knowledge and needs to be addressed, at least to those concerned with some semblance of fair play in our U.S. economy.
Three scandals have converged in the past week to preoccupy Congress and the press. Benghazi was the first to come, and it has surprised by its staying power. The abuse of power by the IRS may be, in the long run, the most damaging of these cases for the Obama presidency, but its outlines are only beginning to emerge. But the ugliest of the scandals has come from the revelation of the justice department's seizure of two months of phone calls by 100 AP reporters. This was done to investigate the leak of a thwarted terrorist plot which the government itself had already decided to disclose in public. Different as they are, the scandals all point to a single disorder that afflicts the Obama White House and the Holder justice department. The name of the disorder is paternalism, and its leading symptoms are suppression and secrecy.