ACLU Chief Anthony Romero said he was “disgusted” with President Barack Obama Wednesday for his handling of civil liberties, citing his failure to close the Guantanamo prison camp and his unwillingness to open up classified files.
"I'm going to start provocatively ... I'm disgusted with this president," Romero told the America's Future Now breakout session Wednesday morning, according to blogger Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake.com. The event was also reported by Politico.
Romero confirmed what he said to Politico, but said it wasn't intended as an ad hominem attack.
"I'm not disgusted at President Obama personally. It's President Obama's policies on civil liberties and national security issues I'm disgusted by. It's not a personal attack," Romero said.
While liberals of various stripes have or had gripes with how Obama has conducted himself since taking office, civil libertarians may well be the most disillusioned at this point.
"There was a discussion this morning, and there has been generally in progressive circles, about expectations that have not been met. I made the point that expectations were high because the president set expectations very high," Romero told Politico.
Asked why he's so animated now, Romero said: "It’s 18 months and, if not now, when? ... Guantanamo is still not closed. Military commissions are still a mess. The administration still uses state secrets to shield themselves from litigation. There's no prosecution for criminal acts of the Bush administration. Surveillance powers put in place under the Patriot Act have been renewed. If there has been change in the civil liberties context, I frankly don't see it."
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