Madeleine Albright, and a host of other American, NATO and European officials have testified at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague. Each has done so in open court.
Wesley Clark has been called to testify later this month.
But the Bush administration is insisting that his testimony take place in near complete secrecy
-- which is entirely unprecedented for high government officials and is normally reserved for individuals who fear retribution for their testimony.
(Court rules allow high-ranking government officials to have representatives of their governments' on hand who can step in and have particular questions answered in secret if they believe they may compromise national security interests or touch on classified information.)
Two explanations suggest themselves. One is more administration payback against Clark -- an effort to keep him out of the spotlight for political reasons. But a more likely and prosaic explanation is the administration's contempt for international law and legal institutions.
Administration officials demanded a similar level of censorship on possible testimony from Richard Holbrooke last year. And court officials, for now at least, decided not to call him at all.
So many bad motives to choose from, right? In this case, for them, it's probably a twofer.