For those who don't know, or don't want to know, the Obama Justice Department made a most disappointing move late last Friday - late so as to circumvent the press in what is called a Friday news dump - of claiming immunity for Bush officials who broke the law by illegally spying on Americans.
As Glenn Greenwald points out, this is not just a continuation of the dubious claims of the Bush administration, but an entirely new claim that even the Bush legal team didn't attempt.
But late Friday afternoon, the Obama DOJ filed the government's first response to EFF's lawsuit, the first of its kind to seek damages against government officials under FISA, the Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bush's NSA program. But the Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire lawsuit based on (1) its Bush-mimicking claim that the "state secrets" privilege bars any lawsuits against the Bush administration for illegal spying, and (2) a brand new "sovereign immunity" claim of breathtaking scope -- never before advanced even by the Bush administration -- that the Patriot Act bars any lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance unless there is "willful disclosure" of the illegally intercepted communications.
I never thought I would see it, but this move led Keith Olbermann to excoriate Obama on television. You may remember that, after Obama's complete flip flop on FISA, Olbermann, who had previously likened the proposed FISA law immunizing the telecoms to "the bureaucrats of the Third Reich", softened his tone dramatically to accommodate the then Democratic candidate for president.
There were no such accommodations tonight:
The president has not, however, backed down from his promise to end out involvement in Iraq, not yet anyway.
He was there today unexpectedly re-emphasizing that it was time to turn this over to Iraqis. But given what was done today here, in his name, defending invasion of privacy and domestic spying, he will have to forgive us if we invest less in his assurances and listen less closely to his words and instead attend more closely to the possible sound of other shoes dropping.
That's Keith Olbermann, basically saying that Obama has lost much, if not all of his credibility now. He also had on Jonathan Turley to discuss just how utterly mind boggling, and harmful to our constitutional rights this position by Obama is if it survives the courts. And of course, he chastised Obama for flip flopping.
Olbermann has been an exceedingly loyal supporter of president Obama. This marks a dramatic turn of events as the first time, that I'm aware of, that Olbermann has directed his biting commentary towards the new president.
Is it time to go after Olbermann? Expose him for the Obama hater he secretly must be? Forgive my sarcasm, but I guarantee you he got some hostile mail tonight.
And to those Youtube challenged, here's the look on Olbermann's face as he closed his remarks ("shoes dropping").
That's Olbermann's worst person in the world face - directed at Barack Obama. Ouch.