Six Reasons To Not Prosecute Interrogaters: Six Reasons Why We Must.

From the Washington Post we have this Op-Ed.  Jeffery H. Smith is of the opinion that prosecuting criminal wrong-doing by the CIA and contractors will be bad for America.  Interesting opinions by Mr. Smith, and some simple -minded refutations/reflections.

From Mr. Smith:  “First, these techniques were authorized by the president and approved by the Justice Department. The relevant committees of Congress were briefed. Although the Justice Department’s initial legal opinions were badly flawed, the fact remains that the agency responsible for interpreting and enforcing the law said the techniques were “legal.” That alone will make prosecutions very difficult.”

From the Nixon era:  “If the President does it, it must be legal.”  That did work real well, before, didn’t it? Well, maybe not.   This fundametnally assumes that the president and other government officials cannot break the law.  Th0se of us who lived through the 1970’s , may have a different idea.

“Second, the CIA provided the inspector general’s report to the Justice Department in 2004. Justice has not prosecuted any CIA officers but did successfully prosecute a contractor who beat a detainee to death, an incident that was initially reported to the department by the CIA. What has changed that makes prosecution advisable now? No administration is above the law. But the decision of one administration to prosecute career officers for acts committed under a policy of a previous administration must be taken with the greatest care. Prosecutions would set the dangerous precedent that criminal law can be used to settle policy differences at the expense of career officers.”

This point assumes that politics supercedes the authority of law.  I know some Republicans who wish this was reality, but, sorry folks, it is not…  And never has been [period].

“Third, after Justice declined to prosecute, the CIA took administrative action, including disciplinary action against those officers whose conduct it deemed warranted such responses. This is standard procedure; reports of possible criminal activity must be referred to Justice. If it declines to prosecute, the matter is sent back to the CIA for appropriate administrative action.”

A tennis match between Justice and CIA, that is so much better than the investigations that are needed…

“Fourth, prosecuting CIA officers risks chilling current intelligence operations. This country faces an array of serious threats. A prosecution or extensive investigation will be an unmanageable expense for most CIA officers. More significant, their colleagues will become reluctant to take risks. What confidence will they have when their senior officers say not to worry, “this has been authorized by the president and approved by Justice”? And such reactions would be magnified if prosecutions focus only on the lower-ranking officers, not those in the chain of command. Such prosecutions are likely to create cynicism in the clandestine service, which is deeply corrosive to any professional service.”

Oh no…. we definitely do not want our intelligence services staff to follow the law.  Such would be sooooo… inconvenient and maybe dangerous [see Bush re-election, 2004].

Fifth, prosecutions could deter cooperation with other nations. It is critical that we have the close cooperation of intelligence services around the world. Nations often work together through their intelligence services on matters of mutual interest, such as combating terrorism, even if political relations are strained or nonexistent. The key to this cooperation is the ability of the United States to be a reliable partner and keep secrets. Prosecuting CIA officers undermines that essential element of successful intelligence liaison.

This silly idea assumes that our alliances have a vested interest in us lying about what we are doing.  I am willing to pose the really stupid idea that this is might not be the case.

Sixth, President Obama has decisively changed the policies that caused so much damage. He recognizes that it is vital to our security to have an effective intelligence community that is not distracted by looking backward and coping with congressional investigations and grand jury subpoenas.

The central assumption here is that we have to ignore of criminal wrong-doings to move forward.  I thought one had to confess one’s sins to move forward; please quote the Bible verse that claims otherwise…

Shaking my head; can’t you guys do better than this?

iggy donnelly…



Filed under Enhanced Interrogations

11 responses to “Six Reasons To Not Prosecute Interrogaters: Six Reasons Why We Must.

  1. Upon momentary reflection, I am not wanting to have the front line people who did these crimes prosecuted, as much as I would like to see their supervisors prosecuted – Dick and George…

  2. lilacluvr

    I’m thinking – let’s give immunity to all the low-level people if they cooperate and hand over the big fish in that scummy pond that Dick and George called their war on terror.

    But I don’t think the country has the stomach for actually charging past president and V.P. with war crimes.

    Look at Nixon – he got off with only a slapped hand.

    Look at Reagan with Iran Contra scandal – what did he get? – supposedly amnesia and the Republicans still worship the guy like he is their Golden Calf idol.

    Plus, we are supposed to be such a Godly and moral country but yet we have alot of people who firmly believe the US should never apologize for anything we have done.

    We are a nation filled with very arrogant people.

  3. “We are a nation filled with very arrogant people.”

    Yes, we are!

    And, it is time for that crap to stop! It can happen, all we have to do is say is, it must!

  4. Zippy

    Thank you, Iggy. Your abiding common sense–something that these days, alas, routinely gives way to political convenience–shines through.

    I’m all in favor of offering the same kind of deals to the low-level torturers as anyone involved in the bottom of a criminal enterprise–in fact, more so, because I sympathize (to some degree) with those who say “my country told me to do it.”

    What is being touted now, with apparent support from some “liberals,” is going after only those who violated John Yoo’s “standards. ”

    But the upshot is there is a BIG difference between prosecutorial discretion, and another Abu Garaib “bad apples” travesty.

    And what’s being suggested, by some in power, is far worse than even that, as it will ratify the notion that the Executive branch can remake and nullify the law by fiat, as you noted.

    A friend of mine made a couple of comments on that elsewhere . . . .

  5. Zippy

    P.S. Oh David? I don’t bite (usually).

    But I think some explanation is in order.

    Sorry, but I am completely appalled.

  6. Zippy

    P.P.S. That probably wasn’t fair.

    But I hope any misimpressions I have can be corrected.

  7. tosmarttobegop

    For years I never understood why Ford pardoned Nixon, Ford’s explain it before his death made sense.
    Much like what would happen with the torture issue, it would sever to add more division within the American people. Force us to do self reflection that would not be pleasant and end up not I would hope with a renewal of striving to be what we say we are. But rather lead to a break down of who we are.

    Many would not accept that we are worst, someone would dismiss it as being proven right in their opinions.
    The desire to be righteous often over rides the reality and common sense. More then one child molester has told me they actually love children and would not hurt them in any way.
    Many do not care as to the effects of an action, more that they were right in their opinion.
    Then move on to the next opinion of something else leaving the wrong unconcluded.

    I think we will end up with a Faustian deal in this, selling our soul rather then try to heal it.

  8. Zippy

    Actually, pardoning those involved would be more defensible than going after the low-level servants to the powerful, while leaving the puppet-masters unscathed.

    Hell, doing nothing would be better than that!

    It has less to do with being “righteous” than affirming that laws cannot be overridden if you have enough power. That, in essence, is the claim that is being made.

    But, as I’ve stated many times before, this isn’t exactly about prosecutorial discretion. It’s about, at least, equal application of the law.

    In Tucson, we had an infamous case where a doctor hired a not-too-bright guy to kill a rival. They both went to prison. Applying the Abu Garaib model, the low-functioning loser would have taken all the punishment, while the doctor who hired him would still be walking free.

    Would that be just?

    I really don’t want to put W. in prison–in some ways, he was pretty clearly Cheney’s figurehead.

    And Cheney could always change form and fly out anyway (leaving him in the sun might be more appropriate, though I’m generally opposed to the death penalty!).

    In short, the question is this?: do we ignore our international treaty obligations just because it’s politically inconvenient to adhere to them?

    The issue is not one of practical and/or merciful application of the law, but whether the law matters at all.

  9. jammer5

    “The issue is not one of practical and/or merciful application of the law, but whether the law matters at all.”

    Or, in a short form, do we, as a nation, want anarchy to replace the rule of law? One would hope not. To go after the lesser, when the greater make the rules would reflect that.

    This investigation should run all the way; from the top to the bottom. The end result should reflect the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Otherwise, it should be dropped completely.

  10. lilacluvr

    Why can’t we just give both Bush and Cheney one-way tickets to some country who is just chomping at the bit to charge these two with war crimes?

    Then it is up the World Court to render justice – or does that only happen in the Super Hero comic books?

  11. “…or does that only happen in the Super Hero comic books?”

    Afraid so.