Who's Above The Law?
by Josh Orton, Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 11:38:12 AM EDT
If you're trying to figure out who, exactly, will face investigation or prosecution for participating in torture, you might be confused by the conflicting messages coming from the administration.
From AG Holder:
Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that he would "follow the law" as he weighed potential prosecutions of Bush administration officials who authorized controversial harsh interrogation techniques. . . "We are going to follow the evidence, follow the law and take that where it leads. No one is above the law," Holder said at an Earth Day event.
But is that true? Obama's said repeatedly that interrogators who followed legal guidance in "good-faith" shouldn't be prosecuted. But remember, just because an interrogator followed legal advice doesn't mean they didn't break the law. Legal opinions from the Justice department aren't laws themselves - they're interpretations of laws.
I wrote yesterday that it seemed the White House might be politically prejudging what happens to interrogators - even as they insisted that any decision to prosecute policy authors would of course be made at the Justice Department - a seemingly inconsistent standard.
On the case, Greg Sargent follows up and gets a statement from Justice:
"The Justice Department makes decisions on Federal prosecutions."
Huh. So does that mean interrogators will be investigated? And why, then, has Obama been pre-emptively declaring who should and should not face prosecution? Who's above the law?