One senior Obama official who continued to raise questions about the wisdom of coming out publicly at all was Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security director. She argued that the calls for transparency had quieted down, as one participant characterized her view, so why poke the hornet’s nest? Another senior official expressing caution about the plan was Kathryn Ruemmler, the White House counsel. She cautioned that the disclosures could weaken the government’s stance in pending litigation. The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration under the Freedom of Information Act seeking the release of the Justice Department legal opinion in the Awlaki case. (The department has declined to provide the documents requested.)
Interesting, isn’t it, that Napolitano is basically saying “people have almost forgotten they were angry about these extrajudicial murders. Let’s wait longer and see if they completely forget”. Why poke the hornet’s nest?
Note especially the stance of Kathryn Ruemmler, the White House Counsel, who argued that any disclosures on the Awlaki killing “could weaken the government’s stance in pending litigation.”
That is, Ruemmler argued the Administration couldn’t voluntarily provide information about Awlaki’s killing, because it might mean it would have to involuntarily give that information up pursuant to a lawsuit over that information. Huh?