Obama, a constitutional lawyer, has a far better grasp of the
dramatic erosion of civil liberties his administration is cementing into
place than his hapless predecessor. Obama, however, dissembles with an
icy cynicism. He assured the public in January that the National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA) would not be used to detain and hold American
citizens without due process, although the act's latest version, which
became law this month, clearly states the opposite.
And Ellsberg, along with Noam Chomsky and other activists, has joined me as a plaintiff in suing the president and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the NDAA. We are scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 29. When Obama was questioned in 2011 about the difference between the release of the Pentagon Papers and the cables turned over to WikiLeaks he answered: "Ellsberg's material was classified on a different basis."
"That's true," Ellsberg said ruefully in our conversation last week. "Mine were top secret. The cables released in WikiLeaks were secret."
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