There are two great stories out discussing what we should do with all the national security secrets that, if made public, could (1) expose the full extent of the Bush Administration’s torture, detention, rendition, and wiretapping programs, (2) make Bush Administration officials vulnerable to criminal prosecution, (3) create a public circus that overshadows the Obama Administration’s early actions and spoils a moment of goodwill that Obama wants to exploit, and (4) potentially make our defenses weaker in the war on terror.
Result (1) is obviously a good thing. Is (2)? Even if it comes with effects (3) and (4)? Is there a way to do this that avoids (4) entirely?
Check out the thoughts of Dahlia Lithwick in Slate and Charles Homans in the Washington Monthly. Obama seems interested in establishing a commission that ferrets out the who/what/where/when/why, but doesn’t initiate criminal proceedings. That’s probably the approach the majority of the country would prefer, but is bound to anger some on both the right and the left.