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. LindyLou,

    Thanks for that link to Alpha.

    Patty C,

    Thanks for the information about the Vatican, I also understand that they have a section which is not open to anyone as a special organization of the church uses this and this alone.

    The rest of the list,

    I read with amazement that this list is monitored. That is good. As Rodney King said as he was getting his 3 million Can’t we all just get along.

    I did not feel very much like sharing anything good after I awoke and found someone had decided to move the fence line a few feet. They also rearranged the counties structure too. But I am not going to help them out this time. Property Taxes were paid in February, I would like a little return on my investment.

    So it was fixed for less that 9.00 as I had a few extra boards and skill as a carpenter.

    I do not know how I stumbled on this site, but by far it is one of the most incredulous sites that I have ever been a part of. For that I am pleased.

    As we are aware, I don’t think anyone is being graded or are they? I did not know that there was nay kind of pecking order. I thought the ideal is of the free range, kind of like the Roman Forum the original or basis of the republican form of government.

    Now I need my share of the 3 million.

  2. I agree with Mespo and others that Obama is placing his trust in the people who voted for him to raise enough of a stink to force his hand. Whenever I hear him or anyone else say something about “moving forward,” I have that same manipulated feeling I used to get when my daughter would offer excuses like “everyone does this.” I see red and write letters.

    By the way, professor, I steal your material all the time.

    Patty, I’ve never understood what you expect to gain by reminding us yet again that you found Professor Turley’s blog before some of the rest of us. Do you think your opinion should count double?

    That being said, we’re both curious about the planets, so let me share this. There is a site called Alpha Trends that talks about things that happen when Pluto is in Capricorn and Sagittarius. This was written long before Obama was elected, way back when many of us thought that the repubs would control the election. Here’s a paragraph.

    “Once Pluto turns direct, September 8, 2008, we will watch many events expose the hidden elements as they come to the surface of the integrity, honesty, beliefs, intentions and the use or mis-use of philosophy, religion and power. This showing of the deep ethics will continue until November 26, 2008, when Pluto moves into Capricorn and causes explosive transitions in outer situations, which bring all hidden elements out into the open. This revealing process creates huge issues of scandals, mis-use of power, corruption of any Sagittarius dealings within industries, such as churches or religious groups, higher education and colleges, judicial courts and committees, laws and legal groups, and the like. Once this explosion takes place the magma of ethics, integrity, motives and intentions will come spewing out to create our new pathway according to the qualities we have used within this Pluto in Sagittarius time frame.”


  3. FF LEO,

    I just made a long post that began with “Professor Turley”, hit submit and watched it disappear into the ether… Thanks for telling me what I did wrong. I should know enough to save something before I post it.

    Professor Turley, I saw your appearance on Hardball and admire your restraint. Your soft-spoken logic and facts contrasted well to Pat Buchanan’s emotional bloviating. It’s too bad that Chris Matthews didn’t a better job as moderator and force Buchanan to answer your logic instead of just ranting. I agree with Mike S. that it is the actions that are ultimately taken that are important, not what President Obama says. The president is in a very delicate situation in that if he is seen to be engaging in what the Republicans see as a partisan witch-hunt, it could significantly impair his ability to enact his agenda which is of great importance to the future of our country (not to imply that war crime prosecution is unimportant, but I think President Obama is more concerned with the economy, health care, Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc. and, quite frankly, I agree that is where his focus should lie). As has been pointed out, the decision on how to proceed in this matter is entirely in the hands of AG Holder and I have no problem with him waiting to make that decision until it is politically expedient to do so. I don’t think that a prosecution can take place without ruinous political cost until the overwhelming majority of the public sees torture as both morally wrong and ineffective. For those of us that watch MSNBC as a primary news source, it may seem like this is already the case, but other networks (not just FOX) still propagate the idea that “torture is effective and has kept America safe” instead of the idea that torture has made us demonstrably less safe and led to the death of 4,000 brave American soldiers. That is why is is so important for people like Professor Turley, interrogators, generals, and intelligence officials to speak out and educate the public. Many posers here seem to view President Obama’s statements and actions on this issue in a vacuum, but as president that is something that he cannot do. I think in this circumstance he is using FDR’s model of wanting to be forced to do the right thing and given the whole situation, I don’t see a better way he could play it.

  4. I tried to post this before and it seems that if I begin with a salutation using Professor Turley, the post does not go through. I had a post yesterday—unrelated—that did not make the blawg. Therefore, I will try again:

    Prof.J.T. I saw your post after I wrote my too long of a note. You are welcome to remove my post, given your intervention.

  5. Patty C.

    Jill does a lot of the legwork for us here regarding many issues and therefore valuable to me personally. She presents contrary evidence/opinion that makes us all think, whether we dislike the message or the messenger.

    I like you Patty C., and although I have only been here as a ‘regular’ for months, I held back numerous times already with posting a rebuttal to your attacks on Jill.

    Although I stated I would not broach the subject again, you revived it. The next aspect is important because when posting online, people cannot know the extent of any of the myriad possible emotional or physical issues someone might be experiencing when they post. As a medical professional who took the Hippocratic Oath, you need to interpret what Jill stated within this blawg the last major time you ridiculed her some weeks ago. She said that your words *hurt* her personally. As a physician, at that point, you should have stopped with your attacks as a fulfillment of your Hippocratic Oath alone, regardless of your rights to post here as a private citizen. Emotional hurt is sometimes as painful—or more so—than physical hurt or pain, as you must well understand. Hurt is hurt and if someone tells me I am hurting him or her, then I will stop. If the only means I have at my disposal to stop hurting him or her is to ignore that person completely, then I will do so.

    We all want you to strongly counter/rebut/refute whatever Jill states if you disagree, just please do so in the style of logical debate that you certainly had to learn in at least one legal course in law school. The most important aspect of good lawyering that I admire is that trained lawyers are skilled in critical thinking and logic. That is one principal reason why I am here, to glean more of that realm of logical thinking regarding the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.

    Additionally, I love Latin, and although I am not versed in Latin legal phraseology, I frequently used Latin and its etymological derivatives in my biological duties, primarily associated with binomial nomenclature. As I aged and then retired, I am still unable to enjoy retirement because I am often engaged in legal battles against the government regarding environmental breaches of law, especially NEPA. I often think that had 1 or 2 turns in my life had been different I might have considered a career in environmental law. However, in my 6th decade of life, I can only present fact that may or may not become relevant in a legal sense in a court case and any lawyer here will know what I mean.

    I will fess up a bit more in that I also access this blawg in my attempt to learn legalese and process to understand why the lawyers I sometimes work with cannot admit certain facts in court cases to the opposition’s briefs. They often cannot legally counter governmental officials who can lie and cheat while making arbitrary and capricious decisions, simply because they are granted deference, in most cases.

    The foregoing was my verbose manner of trying to state why this blawg is important to me and I access it for mostly serious reasons. I admire the humor, witticisms, strong, reasoned debate, and logical arguments—legal and otherwise—but ad hominem attacks against anyone get in the way. I have considered not returning here on numerous occasions because of those unnecessary tactics. The only items that I abhor more are the exact same inane long copy/pastes back-to-back in numerous threads over numerous topics.

    Full Disclosure: FFLEO enjoys reading what both Patty C. and Jill write when in is logical, on topic, and I usually learn from both women. That reminds me, where are those other gals/girls/women who used to post here? I never wanted to go to an all-male college and I certainly prefer to get more of the feminine perspective regarding the law or current legal issues. Disclaimer: ……( in case you cannot read the preceding disclaimer legal copy, it is in very fine print; I learned that device from a lawyer, pro bono, no less).

  6. Bron,

    No offense taken! I hate cooking and would never post a recipe because someone would probably end up dying. Thank you for your support on the personal attacks. That goes to everyone who has objected to the vicious, unprofessional personal attacks. They make the blog ugly and are unworthy of this site. I disagree with many people on this site but I still respect all of them. Deep feelings and strong arguments are not a crime. They mean people are thinking and feeling about things. Personal attacks, on the other hand, come straight out of egotism.


    You don’t even care to honor what JT has asked you on so many occasions. It doesn’t speak well of you and that’s all I’ll say to you.

  7. FFLEO:

    No argument there and good point. I was thinking of cowardice in the sense of taking on the Clintons and winning, one must have some “spine” to do that.

  8. Patty C:

    Why are you so hard on Jill? I have never read anywhere where she has savaged you like you do her on a regular basis.

    I read your posts and sometimes I think there are 2 of you. Is someone posting using your name?

    Why do you bring up Harvard all the time? And DAR? There are a few other people on this site that went to Harvard and they never bring it up unless it is germain to the thread, you bring it up like a queen giving alms to the poor.

    While I dont agree with Jill’s politics, she does do a good job researching and presenting her side of the aisle. Although your recipes are a bit better (sorry Jill).

  9. Bron,

    We simply define cowardice differently. A leader must lead regardless of what the consequences are as long as the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution are his guides.

  10. FFLEO:

    “President Obama’s inconsistencies reveal either his fear, naiveté, inexperience, or—worst of all—that he is a liar and a coward.”

    I think it is all of that combined to some degree (although he certainly isnt a coward), he was not ready for prime time. He should have been in the senate another term and then maybe governor of Illinois for a term or two, then run for president. He would still only be about what 55-58.

    Certainly not a dumb guy but you dont make the project manager with 2 or 3 years of experience head of Bechtel.

  11. AY,

    Mespo and I are original ‘turlees’ and have been here longer than most. Nobody is likely to consider me a ‘troll’ – not to worry.

    You might be interested to know, if you don’t already, that the Vatican is said to still contain the largest collection of astrological manuscripts in the world.

    Cool, huh

    FFLEO, I would suggest I ‘care’ for this blog more, as I have been here from the beginning. Before your time, I was the one who came up with nickname ‘JT’ for Jonathan.

    I’ll tell you something else – Jill is the instigator here since the days of Bartlebee and she knows it.

    She also routinely refuses to acknowledge having made, much less retract, patently false statements on a regular basis.

    If you are going to comment, then do so fairly.

  12. As the expression, or old James Bond movie goes, Never Say Never Again. rule out, rule in et. al. as statements are far less important than actions. The actions of the continuing release of documents, photos and information, as Mespo began with, certainly is not coincidental. Public reaction is now beginning to pay attention and anger is building (not yet built though), the MSM and Washington Village is even paying attention due to breaking stories in the W. Post. It’s coming people.

    Patty C,
    You and I share similar views and I understand your discomfiture with Jill because in truth she never liked President Obama during the campaign, nor trusted him. This is off putting, but not deserving of the opprobrium you’ve heaped on her. I’m not a medical professional, but I’m a damn good psychotherapist and your attacks on her have been obsessive. I also have an Ivy League Degree (full scholarship) and 5 years post masters training at a psychotherapy institute (of course I also had an LSAT score in the high 600’s, but pissed my legal career away playing hippie). It bothers me to say this to you because I agree with most of your comments and have admiration for your skills. To have done all you do and be a great cook also bespeaks drive and talent.

    This is difficult for me to write because of late I feel that Jill has gone over the top in reporting every story and citing all sources that cast the direst light on this administration. This pains me because I also know that Jill and I share similar commitments to peace and justice, so the disagreements are internecine. I have taken issue with her about it, but I haven’t cast aspersions on her character.
    First because there is no need and secondly because while I think she is wrong on President Obama, she at least tries to give basis to her critiques. That is where I draw the line between troll, like Scott Rumph and Jill. She is not a troll and she is not an enemy of the aspirations, I think most of us here share, despite where we stand on the political spectrum.

    I know you take pride, because you’ve said it enough, on being one of the original “Turlees” and I compliment you on your foresight. I am not but I was warmly welcomed on this site and have been treated as part of the gang since. Jill was the first to welcome me. Now I’ve been commenting on Net message boards for more than a decade and found many seemingly commodious sites, Democrats.com/Alternet for instance, to be inhabited by people who to me were just as rigid in viewpoint as the Bush/Cheney types I despise. I don’t measure people on where they stand on the political spectrum, but on their ability to have an open mind and actually think things through. I’ve found that here and you certainly are in the mix in all respects. Please take it as friendly advice that perhaps you should re-examine your overt loathing for Jill, I’m not saying embrace her, but for us “insiders” here, it would make things more comfortable if you limited your attacks to the impersonal.


    1. Thank you Mike S and other for the comments.

      Patty C, I want to join everyone in saying again how much we appreciate your views. However, you are straying again into personal attacks. This blog is a rare spot for passionate debate with personal animus. I realize that you have considerable differences with Jill’s view, but it is dragging down the debate to have such name calling. I have been very careful in my criticism because I do not want to loose you. Please consider the views of your friends (including myself) on this blog and refrain from these attacks. This is one of the only rules of this blog . . . other than a general bar on trolls. I would be greatly in your debt if you would dial down on the language and focus on policies rather than personalities.

      Best regards,


  13. AnonY:

    “I believe that he wants maximum public exposure and public opinion to work in his favor”

    Popularity is *not* an element of torture law and why would you link the two, given your legal training and background?

    Vox Populi, as I previously stated, must not be in play at this stage regarding the DOJ.

  14. Anon Yours,

    In your earlier post you said we didn’t have the money to engage in prosecutions. Do you still think that?

    Public perception is not against investigations. I’m not certain why you believe this. Can you tell me why?



  15. Jill,

    It is not about the money to Prosecute the case. Thats is chump change compared to the practicabilities of the situation.

    I believe that he wants maximum public exposure and public opinion to work in his favor. I have worked for the Majority Leader-Dem Controlled and the AGs Office.

    Public perception. Has a lot to do with it.

    I have no problem with the legalization of drugs. But the Government does not like competition. Believe.

  16. Anon Yours,

    We do disagree and I don’t take that personally either. I did think about the money involved in prosecution and here’s one place where I would get it. Legalize drugs.

  17. I viewed the video. I am pleased that Professor Turley *tried* to debate the torture issue. I would suggest that if the professor has an agent who books television appears, that he ensures torture debates are scheduled for all of the news networks. This would allow Prof. Turley to expose how uninformed and disingenuous are those commentators and guests like Mr. Buchanan, although he hardly gets a legal word in edgewise. His mere presence refutes their basely argument that waterboarding is not torture. Mr. Hardball is a terrible interviewer.

  18. Patty C.,

    Okay, Ma’am, I will not broach the subject again. I just care for this blawg and the people who post here even when I strongly disagree with what they posit.

  19. Patty C.

    Lighten up or Somebody might consider you a Troll with the likes of FORMER DEM SCOTT RUMPH. I think that Jill makes very valid points as you do. Not everyone like Steinbeck or Larry King. I chose just to ignore them. I certainly do not watch the drama.

    Jill has disagred with me and I her, just today we did so. FFLEO aka LEO and fka Liar has pointed out my indiscretions as well. I do not take it personal. Since you are evidently well educated and have a vast amount of social and working skills you know some people just don’t jive.

    So with that please lighten up. I find it interesting that a Harvard trained Md is interested in Astrology. That is good. It makes perfect sense to me.

    What is interesting is Turley is probably using us all as examples in his classes, don’t you agree?

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