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. As an observation,

    1) Strong personalities can often create friction, but then again, it’s the warmth of the fire that keeps the really good commentators coming back. As long as a contributor brings a) honesty [as in their postings consistently present topics of legitimate concern without the need for using the tools of neocon propaganda] and b) a well thought out point of view – who cares about disagreeing amongst ourselves enough to create escalation? This is my stance every time I’ve said something about the “internal” frictions. I love Patty and Jill both equally although I don’t always agree with either on specifics. Save that vigor for those who deserve your ire – the torture apologists and those who would see our fundamental Constitutional rights trampled under the boot of tyranny.

    2) We are all on the same side – the Constitution and the Rule of Law. We may differ on the methods for the restoration, but our common goal should override any personal differences that crop up as to methodology. Just as our diversity is our strength, we should not let it weaken us. It’s is a two-edged sword. Let’s use our weapons properly, people. It maximizes effectiveness in the field and reduces team and self injury. Plus, in-fighting could drive off new and potentially good contributors like Slartibartfast.

    3) That being said, as one who has the ability to weave a tapestry of profanity, I appreciate the Prof’s efforts to keep the site a bit “family friendly”. I’ve adopted the rather silly MPAA model and assumed that JT wants a modicum of decorum that is at a maximum baudy level of NC-17. Please correct me if I’m wrong. While it is well established that the thought police are the only ones I despise more than the language police, this is the Prof.’s playground. Playing nicer – I mean amongst ourselves and with transient guests, not trolls – isn’t a matter of capitulation to the thought police. It’s a matter of manners owed the host. I stipulate that I can be a rowdy guest and do merit the periodic reminder not to set things on fire. Consequently, I feel that is exactly what gives me standing to comment on that issue. That is all I have to say about that.

    4) The mojito is indeed the perfect drink. After a long night of trying to beat Hemingway’s record (for drinking only, not misusing firearms), I understand the attraction. The copious amount of club soda keeps anything but the tinniest of hangovers at bay.

    5) Crucible? Let’s talk first vacation as a couple. It has been a hoot this far. And if cornered I’ll deny it like seamus would deny sobriety on St. Patrick’s Day, but the current lady friend may be a keeper. Speaking of which, I should be a good boyfriend and take her coffee and breakfast. Poor lady was drinking mai-tais and will likely feel like she needs to shave her tongue this morning.

    I will attempt to swing by later in the week as there is a lot going on to comment about, but I hope you’ll understand if I don’t. So unless I get eaten by a shark, I’ll be back at some point.

  2. Patty C:

    “…there are all kinds of specialty Italian markets and bakeries where I still love to shop….”

    *********

    Well funny you say that because I got the idea from my Italian great-grandmother who used to include them in holiday rum cakes. I used the light run because that’s all I had. I really like the dried cherries in almost anything. You can soak them in a little merlot and then do a wine reduction and add to poultry like seared duck breast or capon. Throw on some swiss chard sauteed with oil oil and red pepper flakes, and life will seem (and be) very good indeed.

  3. I really like using spirits in dried fruit.

    In the North End of Boston, there are all kinds of specialty Italian markets and bakeries where I still love to shop although I do so much less frequently, obviously. Rum is very big, as you know. I’m not a huge fan of rum flavor desserts, myself, but I do like the essence of rum once in a while and in small portions.

    I find mascerating dried fruit in spirits gives that little zing instead of overwhelming every bite with the essence of, for instance, the rum you get in a rum filling.

    I’ll have to try your cherries. Dark or light rum?

  4. mespo727272 1, April 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Patty C:

    I will wear the title “Glutæus Maximus” with pride. Now let’s get down to the serious business of carrot cake recipes. Your recipe
    and my rum soaked dried cherries was incredible. Don’t know what Bron98 made but I think he needs to try that cherry-rum carrot cake recipe.

    —-
    What a team…! 🙂

    Cherries in rum – now there a twist!
    Did you go ‘whole hog’, so to speak, with the citrus glaze and marscapone icing or did you try Buddhas maple syrup idea?

    Gin soaked raisins (sultanas) are a popular folk remedy for arthritis, but I also do currants in brandy in pastries like Stollen at Christmas, a tradition, and raisins in bourbon for our home version of Philadelphia Sticky Buns – my partner’s personal all-time-fav weekend brunch treat.

    It’s fun to play around.

    This recipe made me laugh. Too bad Buddha is on vaca…

    http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2000/12/maidaheatterscookies

    Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Cookies with Gin-Soaked Raisins
    Makes about 12 large cookies
    * Active time:40 min
    * Start to finish:10 hr (includes soaking raisins)

    December 2000
    “Crusty on the outside, with a rich, gooey center,” wrote Heatter about her cookies in our December 2000 issue; “They…pack a punch…you won’t taste the gin, but you’ll feel its effects.” Indeed, these are for grown-ups only. Start macerating the fruit a day ahead.

  5. I finally had the time to watch the entire Hardball segment. With all due respect to our posters, Buchanan’s position, in so far as the process that we are likely to see, rings true to me. His position that the country will be “ripped apart” by doing what the law requires is hyperbolic, condescending, and dismissive. His absurd appeal to “a higher moral law,” and MLK is breathtaking unless he means the law of jungle which obligates the obsequious follower to protect one’s leader against any attack to safeguard his own skin — and that is neither moral nor law, at least not since we emerged from caves. JT’s elegant retort mirrors what many have said here (and channeling W.S. Churchill) that, “… we are indeed made of sterner stuff.” And even if we aren’t, we are surely committed to the idea that we are a “nation of laws, and not of men.” Maybe in honoring that venerable and unique idea of ours that was crystallized by John Adams, we will find the strength if, in fact, we need it. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum!

  6. Too bad, PC, because I am a true Scorpio also, so you are caught between 2 Scorpio posts here.

  7. I can understand that you resent Jill for not acknowledging it when you’ve pointed out her errors and would feel the same myself. As a matter of fact on another thread here: …
    —-
    Mike S.
    That’s what I was referring to with regard to your choice of the term ‘obsessive’, thank you.

    BTW, I am Scorpio Rising 😉

  8. “Mike S., I agree ‘obsessive’ might be an accurate term, here. However, I would also suggest your observations include a couple of others – I have a great job AND a life, finally! I’ve had my present partner in life and love for 15 years now, a satisfying and lucrative career times two, and many things to look forward to everyday!”

    Patty C.,
    Where have I ever criticized your career and your life, or in fact you at all as a person. In fact I’ve praised most of what I know about you. Even obsessive, while you agree with the possible accuracy, is descriptive of a behavior not an indictment of you. I could easily be characterized as garrulous and I wouldn’t argue it. I did put in my CV items because you rightly take pride in yours and so I was stating I’ve my own qualifications, which although not as impressive as yours, do indicate a certain competence. Damn it too, if I had a DAR heritage I would be proud of it. As it is my family were Hungarian peasants and our “tree” can only be traced back about 120 years. Since I used to be a blond and have blue eyes, yet am Jewish, an interesting variant no doubt got into my gene pool via rape.

    “I would also remind you that when Jill insulted you recently, you were very quick to take offense and when you called her on it and she backed down right away. She has NEVER afforded me the same courtesy.”

    Patty, I don’t back down from anyone if I feel wrongly attacked and perhaps my retirement would be more financially comfortable if I had. However, as the Scorpion said (my sign by the way) it’s my nature. I can understand that you resent Jill for not acknowledging it when you’ve pointed out her errors and would feel the same myself. As a matter of fact on another thread here:

    http://jonathanturley.org/2009/04/25/pastor-pushia-confesses-to-using-church-funds-to-hire-hitman-to-kill-blind-disabled-man-for-insurance-money/#comment-49790

    Jill actually cast aspersions on me which I just completely answered, noting my being pissed off about it. However, I don’t feel the need to tear her apart, since like you I have the competence to refute by logic. I would be sad at your departure, particularly because of your long standing in this community.

    “I don’t recall submitting myself to being psychoanalyzed”

    I hope you weren’t referring to me because I don’t do psychoanalysis and have many disagreements with Freud and the whole Psychiatric/Psychological establishment. I come more from an existential perspective and as such make observations of what I think I see, that I recognize may, or not be correct.

    “Mike:
    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.”

    If you think about it our views on this are not that far apart. Where we differ though is that while we are both capable of logically dismantling whatever is thrown at us, you take it more personally. I have been know, on this site, to have utilized aspersion on some posters. My view is to save that for those who truly are to be loathed. In Jill’s case I know that you and I both believe that torture is evil, should be ended and Bush/Cheney tried. So does Jill, but you and I disagree on her timetable and on her acting as if the sky is falling, when progress is actually being made quite rapidly.

    It would be a loss to this site if you disengaged and would personally make me sad. As a true Scorpio (you don’t know even a quarter of it as to how true a Scorpio I am)I much prefer to be retributive via stiletto rather than saber. To me that’s the best way to hold together a diverse community that I believe has some purpose in this world.

    Mike

  9. Patty C:

    I will wear the title “Glutæus Maximus” with pride. Now let’s get down to the serious business of carrot cake recipes. Your recipe and my rum soaked dried cherries was incredible. Don’t know what Bron98 made but I think he needs to try that cherry-rum carrot cake recipe.

  10. mespo727272 1, April 26, 2009 at 7:24 am

    For what it’s worth, my take on the situation is that while Patty C may occasionally go over the top in here criticism, she is an unabashedly logical and insightful poster; she is rightly proud of her heritage and career and does her best to honor it; she suffers no fool gladly. That’s passing grades in my book. I would take that description (warts and all) anytime.

    Thanks, mespo, your my favorite ‘butt-buddy’… 😉

  11. Prof. Turley:

    I am sorry for the lapse, and will not let it happen again. Please delete the post.

    I am just very tired of being falsely accused of being Bartlebee/Waynebro/CromagnonMan on a regular basis. For whatever reason it gets my goat, usually I leave it alone but sometimes, well…

  12. I respectfully request that we *Close* this topic.

    We can post under many other torture-related topics instead of this one. I look forward to informative comments from everyone.

  13. Patty C:

    “I never said my family was wealthy,as nothing could be further from the truth. My great grandparents lost most of their money during the Depression, through failed business ventures, natural disaster and sickness. My brilliant father was only in private practice for ten years before becoming Chief of Surgery for a VA because of his illness, before becoming completely disabled before I was een out in high school while three of my sibs were in college at the same time. There schooling was paid for. Limited finances saw the the rest of us on our own, pretty much. I’ve been working since I was 15!”

    Well join the club, you pompous ass. that scenario abounds and with better than the likes of you.

    You are a silly little twit, wrapped up in delusions of grandeur. And actually I have made a couple of your “recipes” and they actually arent very good. So your taste isnt even all in your mouth.

    1. Bron 98:

      I must ask you, as I did Patty C, to refrain from the personal attacks and profanity. This site is big enough for all views. What the blog cannot tolerate is name calling and personal attacks. I have not followed these threads and I make no judgment on the provocations. It does not matter. This site is for reasoned and respectful discourse. There is no need to respond to people who are rude or boorish or in your view ill-informed. This site exists much like Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons. People can destroy the common area through their own actions — thereby destroying the very resource that they care about. I do not want that to happen and I will start to delete offensive entries from regulars as I do trolls. I would appreciate your help on this decorum rule.

  14. Can’t we all just get along? No one is more or leas important especially here. The reality is we all have a common goal. although scripted and versed we can all rather be terse. The fact is we need to all start over and realize we are friends.

    There are two types of people in this world and they both bring you happiness. Some when they come and some when they go.

  15. For what it’s worth, my take on the situation is that while Patty C may occasionally go over the top in here criticism, she is an unabashedly logical and insightful poster; she is rightly proud of her heritage and career and does her best to honor it; she suffers no fool gladly. That’s passing grades in my book. I would take that description (warts and all) anytime.

  16. Now, I’m even more offended than I was.

    I don’t recall submitting myself to being psychoanalyzed and I take further exception to such ‘bona fide’ analyses, especially by THIS group! ;P

    Rest assured, there are several additional observations I could make, myself, as well.

    First of all, in some respects, you’ve already ‘lost’ me, JT…

    Unfortunately, the #1 Constitutional law blawg has turned into ‘All Jill, All the Time’ and several original turlees have bowed out because of it. If that’s what you want, that’s fine. It’syour blog, of course.

    I remind you again as I have a few times over the past several months that I personally no longer enjoy participating nearly as much as I did when DW was still here – up until late last Spring/early Summer. Even though he was pretty sick,
    ‘our little salon’, as he called it, remained entirely elegant and entertaining. It hasn’t been like that for a long time, Jonathan. He was such a treasure! You are blessed to still have mespo.

    I post less and less, in part, because I’m no longer focused on possible available remedies for application prior to the, then much anticipated, exit of the previous administration. They’re gone and I am more resigned to allowing things to play out a bit while continuing to make my expectations known. But mostly, I cannot tolerate Jill, and I’ll tell you why.

    Not long after she arrived on the blog, she announced her desire to Host a legal call-in radio show. Right – picture my ‘ScoobyDoo moment’, here…

    She has no legal training – whatsoever. She said once, she ‘has ‘worked with MR/DD’ (Mentally Retarded/Developmentaly Disabled)
    – whatever that means… ???

    At the time she was also quite obviously ‘kissing my ass’ for lack of a better phrase, which I don’t appreciate from strangers under the most ideal circumstances. Call me crazy, I become naturally suspect.

    Apparently, she has deluded herself into believing she is the next ‘Randi Rides’ or something, which could explain the unsolicited gratuitous brown nosing compliments, the sexual innuendo and potty mouth exchanges with every male poster, the automatic ‘Welcome’ mat extended to any and all newbies including every troll who has then proceeded to plague us, not to mention the ‘I genuinely care what you think/please get back to me’ inquisitive conversational style of interviewing BS.

    And while you all may not resent the turlee blog having been all but overtaken with the relentless simultaneous daily barrage of vicious attacks against Obama, which began long before the election, I do – very much. Personally, I am sick of hearing it.

    AND I certainly do not consider plopping oneself down at the computer, all day everyday, with the sole purpose of selectively cutting n’pasting in the effort to support an obsessive personally held and predetermined view, ‘providing research’ much less ‘doing the legwork’ for all of us. My standards are much higher as are most lawyers’.

    I find the comment that I ‘keep bringing up the DAR and Harvard like a queen giving alms to the poor’ laughable. I am the target of snide attacks, by Jill, as well as a few and other petty folks, because of my pride in my ancestry on the assumption I am just a spoiled rich kid. And you just did it again, Bron 98 a/k/a Bartlebee/Waynebro/CromagnonMan!

    I never said my family was wealthy,as nothing could be further from the truth. My great grandparents lost most of their money during the Depression, through failed business ventures, natural disaster and sickness. My brilliant father was only in private practice for ten years before becoming Chief of Surgery for a VA because of his illness, before becoming completely disabled before I was een out in high school while three of my sibs were in college at the same time. There schooling was paid for. Limited finances saw the the rest of us on our own, pretty much. I’ve been working since I was 15!

    Mike S., I agree ‘obsessive’ might be an accurate term, here.
    However, I would also suggest your observations include a couple of others – I have a great job AND a life, finally! I’ve had my present partner in life and love for 15 years now, a satisfying and lucrative career times two, and many things to look forward to everyday!

    I would also remind you that when Jill insulted you recently, you were very quick to take offense and when you called her on it and she backed down right away. She has NEVER afforded me the same courtesy. Not one time. The closest she came was when I objected to her behavior ie the gratuitous ass-kissing compliments in particular, to which she responded in part by saying “I’m not your enemy, Patty” which I found very odd. Apparently, I AM her enemy because I see her for who she is, and that remark was just projection and quite telling in my own amateur pop-psychoanalytic view.

    Seriously, if Obama is so obviously nothing but a scum bucket politician, might it not stand to reason to, just as casually, make the same assumption of Jill?

    As far as I can tell, Jill doesn’t do anything else but blog here. Even mespo agrees with me that she sounds ‘like a broken record’. He thinks it’s funny and I just don’t have unlimited patience for it anymore, unfortunately.

    Surely, you must have studied animal behavior just a smidge…

  17. FormerDem,

    Just post a link to all your copied and pasted materials, at least we’d know who really wrote it. Oh, and have you ever given any thought to why you wouldn’t ask the wolf if he was the one eating your sheep?

  18. Former Dem,
    Is this the same Porter Goss who was the former CIA chief that was quoted as saying that he was unqualified to act as CIA chief before Bush named him? Of course, Mr. Goss has no reason to lie to protect his friends. Remember, he was a CIA operative prior to being in the Congress. One more thing, none of the Gang of Four who were “briefed” on the torture program could publicly comment on the briefing under penalty of law. Even if they had said something, or had mailed a letter to the administration to complain about the program, they could never disclose the contents of the letter(s) or once again face possible imprisonment. Now, it is time for all good Trolls to go the way of George Bush. Move to Dallas and restrict your nonsensical posts to neocon websites that don’t care about the facts.

  19. Former CIA chief Goss: I can’t believe what a shameless liar Pelosi is

    April 25, 2009

    Goss: “Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned.

    It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

    In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

    Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

    – The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

    – We understood what the CIA was doing.
    – We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.
    – We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
    – On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

    I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues.”

    ^^^Porter Goss public statement.

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