White House: No Special Prosecutor on Torture

obama-and-gibbsIt is getting rather difficult to follow the line of logic at the White House on the torture investigation. For months, President Obama has been speaking about his intentions as to any investigation into the torture program. Then, this week, he suddenly declared that he should have no role in such decisions. Then the next day, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs declared that Obama did not want to see a special prosecutor. I discussed this statement last night on this segment of Hardball. In the meantime, it appears that new pictures of detainee will be released — though obviously not the videos of torture that were destroyed by CIA officials to prevent their being used against themselves.

Gibbs flatly ruled out the notion of a special counsel or independent prosecutor: “The lawyers that are involved are plenty capable of determining whether any law has been broken.” He then added curiously that they were not intervening in such decisions when he just ruled out this critical option: “I want to stress that that determination is not going to be made by the president, or the vice president, or anybody that works in the White House, because that’s why many, many, many, many moons ago we created a Department of Justice.”

The notion of the Justice Department investigating itself is absurd in this matter. Both career lawyers and political appointees were involved in these decisions at Justice. Many of these lawyers remain at the Justice Department. Moreover, the failure of other lawyers to object to these decisions may prove potentially embarrassing and a potential source of conflict. There also remains the towering appearance of a conflict of interest which should be enough to compel an appointment of a special prosecutor. Many, many, many, many moon age we created ethical rules that bar government lawyers from working in areas where they have an actual or appearance of a conflict of interest.

64 thoughts on “White House: No Special Prosecutor on Torture”

  1. Is it time to begin organizing a general strike on behalf of the Constitution and the Law?

    Or, is the administrations’ recurring anti-Constitutional theme centered on the availability of evidence held in other active investigations? No lawyer, I submit, but shouldn’t discovery in related cases be combined to the simplest and most expedient form?

    You see, I can be reverse deluded into believing my half-full side.

    All of this protectionism couldn’t rest on the quality and consequences of discovery in the illegal wiretapping of citizens, their representatives, and the Judiciary-anyone and everyone an enemy of the state-all being intrinsically linked and so available to both ongoing investigations by Justice and those currently demanded by us, could it?

    Not to remotely suggest I’d ever leave my guard down. Eight years of CheBushney occupation and it’s Never Again II.

  2. Thanks for the compliment Buddha, I hope I can live up to the potential you see in me. Don’t worry about me being scared off – I suspect I’ll be here as long as there is honest debate (although I certainly prefer that it be civil as well, this place is so far above the norm for the internet and the obvious concern of people here (including Professor Turley) to keep it that way gives me no qualms at all). For the record, my only frustration with Jill is that she is sometimes unresponsive to my point, but I’ll take that as a lack of clarity on my part more than anything else. I have to agree with Buddha about the mohito (although sangria is also very good and I have a weakness for fine port as well..) and while cooking is one of my hobbies, I’m more of a barely controlled chaos in the kitchen kind of cook than a trading recipes kind of cook and this conversation seems to have gotten way off topic, so I think I’ll jump to another thread as I still have some thoughts on the torture issue… 😉

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