One of the more quietly worrying things about the Obama administration—rather overshadowed by the excruciating healthcare debate, which is slowing down climate change legislation, and giving the American public ample time to exhaust its will for systemic change—has been its continuation of Bush-era expansions of executive power, particularly the “state secrets” privilege, by which documents from the vital to the inconsequential but embarrassing have been withheld from the judicial system, either as a delay tactic or a Nixonian executive power-grab. It’s been worrying especially because this is one fundamental change that the president wouldn’t have to push through a recalcitrant Congress.
Well, in a reminder to you, me, and everyone else on the MoveOn mailing list to calm down, be patient, maybe breath into a paper bag for a minute if necessary while we wait for things to get just a little better, the Justice Department is set to announce an overhaul of the process by which the government asserts the states secret privilege; it will involve a formalized, exhaustive (and thus, hopefully, stringent) review policy that will require, among other things, for Attorney General Eric Holder’s Heroic Mustache to sign off on any claim of state secrets.
There is good news out there, especially if you’re so fucking depressed about all the bad news that you just reflexively skip any and all news stories pertaining to healthcare, climate, financial regulatory reform, Afghanistan, the Middle East… Basically, this news item is the part where my mother tells me, “You’re here in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not expanding”, except instead of my mother it’s Eric Holder, and his mustache.