This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," January 24, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," President Obama making good on some campaign promises, signing an order to close Gitmo and putting an end to aggressive interrogation tactics. But can he appease the left and keep America safe?
TARP, part II: How will the second half of the bailout money be used?
And Congressman Barney Frank pulled some strings to get millions for a home state bank.
Treasury's Tim Geithner, should his $34,000 tax mistake disqualify him?
The "Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think a -- an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it's easy but also when it's hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
That was President Barack Obama making good on some campaign promises in his first week, signing a series of executive orders closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center, shutting down CIA secret prisons and banning aggressive interrogation tactics. The measures will go a long way to appeasing the left but will they keep America safe?
Joining the panel, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger, editorial board member, Jason Riley; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.
Dan, the left and the media are hailing this as a big break from the Bush administration policies. How big a break is it really and what are the consequences for security?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: To quote the title of a famous '30s movie, "In Name Only." Nominally, they've committed themselves to doing these things. But as president Obama said, as far as Guantanamo goes, he will set up a process to close Guantanamo. And in terms of the interrogations, they're going to look at whether certain kinds of, quote, unquote, "aggressive interrogations may be in fact be appropriate."
You know, we had Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff in to see us a while ago and he said the difference between being on the outside and criticizing, even good faith criticism, and being in that job and bearing the responsibility and knowing what you're responsible for, is the difference between night and day. It is a lot harder than they think it is.
GIGOT: Isn't the president saying that a lot of these guys at Guantanamo are really dangerous, something like...
JASON RILEY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: That's exactly what he said, yes. He's fulfilling a campaign promise, as he said in the segment, and he wants to appease some to the left who wanted him to do this. Now he also has the responsibility of keeping the country safe. When you close Guantanamo, you have a couple issues to deal with. You have dangerous people there, some of them which -- some of whom want to return to the battlefield.
GIGOT: What about 60? The Pentagon said something like 60 have already done that.
RILEY: One that we released in '07 has shown up leading al-Qaeda in Yemen. We don't want that to happen. Those -- some, Obama says, he wants to try in U.S. courts. Is this possible given the rules of evidence in our criminal justice system? He's created some problems as well.
GIGOT: And nobody wants those Guantanamo detainees to show up in Kansas or a neighborhood near you or a prison near you, which could potentially become a target for...