Speaking at a conference of liberal activists Wednesday morning, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero didn’t mince his words about the administration’s handling of civil liberties issues.
In an interview with POLITICO, Romero confirmed the gist of the quote, though he emphasized 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 said.
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.”