Monday :: Apr 20, 2009

Not Quite An Exoneration

by Deacon Blues

I have been as critical as anyone about Obama's all-too-willingness to ignore Bush Administration illegalities in a futile and naive pursuit of a GOP bipartisanship that isn't there. So imagine my super-heated reaction tonight when I watched David Shuster tell me on "Countdown" that Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs have now also given a pass Bush administration officials who authorized war crimes, like the waterboarding of someone six times a day for a month, in a pathetic effort to help sell the Iraq war.

Except that the White House never said they would give a pass to the White House and DOJ lawyers and senior administration officials; they said they would give a pass to CIA officials who gave those orders. Obama is walking a fine line here, trying to keep the Agency on his side while not sending the Democrats in Congress into full investigation mode. And yet he may soon lose control of the matter because Senator Dianne Feinstein now wants a formal inquiry, and the UN's senior official on these matters says that Obama's unwillingness to investigate the culpability of Bush administration officials would itself amount to a violation of international treaties.

Which explains why the White House is now signalling that it may in fact support a Special Prosecutor after all.

On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said on the ABC News program “This Week” that “those who devised policy” also “should not be prosecuted.” But administration officials said Monday that Mr. Emanuel had meant the officials who ordered the policies carried out, not the lawyers who provided the legal rationale.
Even with this though, the Obama White House may only have the stomach to go after the law licenses of the White House attorneys who crafted the opinions, but not prosecute them.
The administration has also not ruled out prosecuting anyone who exceeded the legal guidelines, and officials have discussed appointing a special prosecutor. One option might be giving the job to John H. Durham, a federal prosecutor who has spent 15 months investigating the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of harsh interrogations.

It all still sounds a little wimpish for my tastes, but I'll wait a little while longer before I thrash Obama for tossing away his campaign rhetoric.

But not much longer.

Deacon Blues :: 9:11 PM :: Comments (10) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!