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City of Brass

Gary Farber sounded the alarm last month about President Obama’s nominee for National Intelligence Director, Denis Blair, who was complicit in genocide in East Timor during the Clinton Administration.

Unfortunately, no questions were asked about East Timor during Blair’s confirmation hearing. Blair also refused to categorically state what the attorney general already said explicitly, that waterboarding constituted torture.

This is not good. Blair’s nomination needs to be opposed on basic moral principle. Recall President Obama’s own words during the Inauguration speech:

And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today,
from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was
born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman
and child who seeks a future of peace
and dignity, and we are ready to
lead once more
.

Just words?

If Obama, who has lived in Indonesia (a fact he trumpets), is unaware of the history of the genocide in East Timor, then that’s quite an embarrassment, but it can be fixed, starting with replacing Blair as nominee for top spy. If he knows and nominated Blair anyway, then there’s a deeper problem that isn’t so easily fixed. But either way, the nomination of Blair must not be allowed to pass unchallenged.

UPDATE: Good, it seems that he was asked about it, only to deny it outright. I don’t know if it was followed up or not in further questioning. We will have to wait for the transcript of the confirmation hearing to see for sure.

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