The Corner

Obama Taps More Former Clinton Officials for Four Top DOJ Spots

The New York Times reports, here.  The paper hopefully assumes that this means a marked departure from the counterterrorism policies of the Bush administration.  Maybe so … but maybe not.  As I recounted back in 2006, the Clinton Justice Department asserted that “The President has enhanced responsibility to resist unconstitutional provisions that encroach upon the constitutional powers of the Presidency.”  Moreover, during Clinton’s tenure, extraordinary rendition was a staple, secret warrantless national security searches were conducted, the Deputy Attorney General insisted that the president maintained despite FISA the authority to conduct national security surveillance without judicial approval, and Cuban refugees were detained without trial at Guantanamo Bay.

To be sure, these folks are unlikely — absent the kind of terrorist attack that Bush had to deal with — to push the envelope as aggressively as Bush did on issues like interrogation and detention, especially given the way those matters have animated the Democratic base for the last several years.  But what I think you are certain to see from January 20 forward is a remarkable growth in the understanding Democrats and the media exhibit for how tough the war on terror is.

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