Last week before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, President Obama echoed the position of Bush-Cheney that the state secrets privilege required dismissal of Mr. Mohammed's suit. In other words, individual constitutional rights of the highest order should be sacrificed on the altar of national security. At the same time, Mr. Obama was deciding to defend the arch-defender of torture, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, from a suit brought by Jose Padilla. The complaint alleges that Mr. Yoo concocted the legal justification for detaining and harshly interrogating Padilla as an "enemy combatant" without accusation or trial. (The United States later recanted its enemy combatant allegation).
Mr. Obama invoked the state secrets privilege a second time last week to block litigation challenging the legality of the Bush-Cheney "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (TSP) that he had assailed as a senator. For five years, the TSP targeted American citizens on American soil for electronic surveillance on the president's say-so alone to gather foreign intelligence in contravention of the warrant requirement of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Intentional violations are federal felonies.
The signs have been there for anyone who's been watching. The first big sign was his massive cave-in on the FISA vote. And that was BEFORE he was elected.