I think we may be in danger of reading too much into non-decisions made early that may well be best explained as a holding pattern as the new president tries to get a grip on what exactly he is inheriting. Ambers does some, you know, reporting on the question:
Officials decided that it would be imprudent to reverse course so abruptly because they realized they didn't yet have a full picture of the intelligence methods and secrets that underlay the privilege's assertions, because the privilege might correctly protect a state secret, and because the domino effect of retracting it could harm legitimate cases, both civil and criminal, that are already in progress.
"If you decide today precipitously to waive this privilege, you can't get it back,
an administration official said. "If you decide to assert it, you can always retract it in the future."
This is a pragmatic president and people are hoping for total ideological clarity and swift, complete answers in the first few weeks. Well, when I say "people" I mean Washington. I get the sense that most Americans out there are ready to give him some time. The truth is probably closer to this:
"Whether people like it or not, it is going to take us some time to figure it out." a senior administration official said.
Ditto Geithner. A little patience is in order. I mean: government is not blogging, ok?