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Kristol: Obama to Reverse on Release of Detainee Treatment Photos?

5:13 PM, May 12, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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From White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs's press briefing today:

Q ... Is this something that is being considered, by the president, for reversal? Or is this the policy that will go forward? And does he have any anxiety about the potential consequences of the release of these photographs?

MR. GIBBS: Well, obviously the president has great concern about any impact that pictures of potential detainee abuse, in the past, could have on the present-day service members that are protecting our freedom either in Iraq, Afghanistan or throughout the world. That's something the president is very cognizant of. And we are working to -- we are working currently to figure out what the process is, moving forward.

Q Does that mean the decision could be reversed?

MR. GIBBS: I don't want to get into that right now.

Q So you can't commit either way.

MR. GIBBS: I'm not going to add much to that right now.

This sounds to me as if the president is getting ready to reverse the decision of his Justice Department. I expect him to announce, perhaps citing his discussions today with General Odierno and Ambassador Chris Hill, that he's decided it would be damaging to our soldiers and the nation to release these photos. At the very least, Obama will order an appeal of the 2nd Circuit decision that required that the photos be released. I wouldn't be surprised if he went even further and took Andy McCarthy's suggestion and issued an executive order exempting such photos from FOIA requests.

The Obama DOJ is full of left-wing ideologues. But however much President Obama might sympathize with them, he puts his political self-preservation first. And he knows that, however controversial the release of the OLC memos was, the backlash to the release of these photos would be far greater. The release of photos is less justifiable than that of memos in terms of the public's right to know, soldiers are more popular than lawyers, and this wouldn't be a (however distasteful) assault on the actions of a previous administration--this would be a gratuitous assault on the well-being and the reputation of our fighting men and women.

Look for the Obama reversal on the photos as early as tomorrow.