President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.
Civil-liberties groups were among those outraged that the White House sanctioned the use of harsh intelligence techniques — which some consider torture — by the Central Intelligence Agency, and expanded domestic spy powers. These groups are demanding quick action to reverse these policies.
Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.
“He’s going to take a very centrist approach to these issues,” said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. “Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble.”
Ah, there’s that wonderfully flexible word for “flexible” politicians–pragmatist! Pragmatists who can “get things done” by treating people as things. Of course, we must always have a “centrist” approach, which means an approach least likely to challenge established practices. It is as if opposition to torture was not the position that commands the broad middle of reasonable opinion. We don’t want Obama going off on some crazy jag about human dignity–who knows where that might lead?