Obama 'Even Worse' Than Bush On Secret Wiretapping Case, Says S.F. Lawyer
San Francisco attorney Jon Eisenberg thinks he's learned a thing or two about Barack Obama over the past 15 months. Eisenberg, who won a landmark decision against the government in Northern California's U.S. District Court Wednesday on a wiretapping case, says that when it comes to violating civil liberties in the name of national security, the present occupant of the White House is just as bad as -- or "even worse" than -- his predecessor.
"The Obama Administration stepped right into the shoes of the Bush Administration, on national security generally and on this case in particular," Eisenberg said, referring to the lawsuit brought by his clients, an Oregon branch of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers. The plaintiffs argued successfully before federal Judge Vaughn Walker that their conversations were illegally wiretapped under the Bush Administration's secret surveillance program.
Just as significant as the ruling, however, may be what the case demonstrates about the Obama Justice Department's approach to surveillance of suspected terrorists. Eisenberg told SF Weekly that government lawyers working for Obama had been "more strident" than those working for Bush, refusing to let him see important federal documents related to the case even after he was approved for a top-secret security clearance.
"Even though I have the security clearance, I don't have the 'need to know,' so I can't see anything," Eisenberg said. "This is Obama. Obama! Mr. Transparency! Mr. Change! It's exactly what Bush would have done."
Well, amidst a plethora of bad news, that seems to worsen by the day, Obama's annoyance of this type of individual does serve as good news. At least on this point, and at this point, Obama has taken the Hippocratic approach and has "done no harm".