President Barack Obama does not intend to prosecute Bush administration officials who devised the policies that led to the harsh interrogation of suspected terrorists, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday.In fact the Sunday shows were full of lawmakers on both sides completely and totally rejecting the idea of prosecutions while simultaneously leaving the idea of investigations open.
Obama last week authorized the release of a series of memos detailing the methods approved under President George W. Bush. In an accompanying statement, he said "it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice, that they will not be subject to prosecution." He did not specifically address the policymakers.
Asked Sunday on ABC's "This Week" about the fate of those officials, Emanuel said the president believes they "should not be prosecuted either and that's not the place that we go."
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the idea of "criminalizing legal advice after one administration is out of the office is a very bad precedent. ... I think it would be disaster to go back and try to prosecute a lawyer for giving legal advice that you disagreed with to a former president."
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said, "I don't think we want to look in the rearview mirror." But McCaskill, also on the Armed Services Committee, said there probably was a need to ask more questions. "How do get lawyers at the top levels of the Justice Department that could give this kind of advice?"
The decision not to seek charges against the interrogators has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union and called a violation of international law by the U.N.'s top torture investigator.
Once again, if Obama does not prosecute, he is in violation of international law. He is choosing to be a war criminal. I'm disappointed to say the least. Obama is showing he really is worse than Bush, and that's no hyperbole.
At this point as Americans, each of us has to ask ourselves if failing to prosecute and destroying what is left of America's honor is worth it.
Only by a massive effort by the American people will justice be done.