I have now had the chance to go over a transcript of Thursday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on detention policy, at which Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III both testified. Video of the hearing is available here. Chairman McKeon’s opening statement is availablehere. The following are some thoughts and key excerpts.
I am, after reading the transcript, in full agreement with Adam Serwer that the hearing reflects considerable convergence between the Obama administration and conservatives–particularly if one reads between the lines and imagines current positions as early stage negotiating positions, rather than end-stage policy red lines. Yes, there are things that separate McKeon and the administration–some of them very big things. But McKeon at this hearing clearly signaled flexibility and a desire for bipartisanship. Ranking Member Adam Smith clearly signaled a desire to work with him on legislation. And Johnson and Lynn clearly signaled an openness to some of the basic ideas with which McKeon is working.