Friday :: Dec 19, 2008

Will We Ever Have Accountability On Torture and Surveillance?

by Deacon Blues

Recently, the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a bipartisan report that found torture of detainees was authorized at the highest levels of the Bush Administration. Dick Cheney is practically daring the next administration to hold him accountable for this. We also know that the outgoing administration did in fact violate laws in its surveillance of American citizens. In both cases, the incoming administration has yet to issue a clear statement that there will be any accountability for Bush and his minions for the crimes that have been committed, perhaps because Obama doesn't want to scare Bush into issuing blanket pardons on his way out the door.

The Beltway prefers bipartisan inquiries to look into both matters, which have the benefit of avoiding any real accountability for the Bush Administration perpetrators, because the statute of limitations will expire while these commissions dawdle for years. Furthermore, as David Rose noted in his great piece this month in Vanity Fair, the intelligence community feels that Bush and Cheney are about to hang them out to dry for these deeds, which ended up generating little useful information despite the empty legacy-building by Cheney and Bush that these tactics and illegalities kept the country safe since 9/11.

On torture, Levin feels that his committee can assemble a case and present it to the Obama Justice Department for their action on any possible crimes committed by senior officials in authorizing what in effect are war crimes. Similarly, Pat Leahy feels that his committee can look into the illegal surveillance activities these last eight years and also present a report for follow-up, but both Levin and Leahy seem to prefer the bipartisan commission idea to "study" these matters. Of course they would; these commissions rarely provide accountability or indictments and are the Beltway's tried-and-true way to look the other way in a self-serving manner.

But does anyone want these matters turned over to whitewashing commissions? Alternately, do you trust Senate committees led by Democrats with dirty hands to get to the bottom of these matters? Lastly, do you think that Obama would risk pissing off Republicans to have the Justice Department appoint a Special Counsel to sort everything out?

Deacon Blues :: 5:20 PM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!