[News] It's Official: Obama Will Not Prosecute CIA Torturers

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 16 17:33:13 EDT 2009


It's Official: Obama Will Not Prosecute CIA Torturers

By <http://www.alternet.org/authors/5434/>Jeremy 
Scahill, <http://rebelreports.com/>Rebel Reports. 
16, 2009.

AG Eric Holder: "It would be unfair to prosecute 
dedicated men and women working to protect 
America for conduct that was sanctioned ... by DOJ."

The White House has announced that CIA 
operatives, including contractors, who followed 
Bush guidelines for torturing prisoners will 
be prosecuted for these actions, regardless of 
the Obama administration’s position on the 
legality of the techniques they used. “[I]t is 
our intention to assure those who carried out 
their duties relying in good faith upon legal 
advice from the Department of Justice that they 
will not be subject to prosecution,” President 
Obama said in a 
released today. This seems to be part of a deal 
struck with the CIA over the release of several torture memos today.

“It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men 
and women working to protect America for conduct 
that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice 
Department,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The Washington Post also 

For the first time, officials said that they 
would provide legal representation at no cost to 
CIA employees in international tribunals or U.S. 
congressional inquiries into alleged torture. 
They also said they would indemnify agency 
workers against any possible financial judgments.

This comes as the White House released the three 
“Bradbury” memos, drafted in 2005, detailing CIA 
‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques and torture. 
The administration has also reportedly released a 
2002 memo written by Justice Department lawyer 
John Yoo and signed by Jay Bybee. 
New York Times described that memo as “a legal 
authorization for a laundry list of proposed C.I.A. interrogation techniques.”

The Bradbury memos are named for Steven Bradbury, 
the former acting head of the Justice 
Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under Bush.

The decision 
came “after a tense internal debate,” culminating 
with a  “final round of deliberations” Wednesday 
night over the release, which was fiercely 
opposed by the CIA, which said their release 
would threaten national security. The 
administration faced a deadline of today for the 
release of the documents under a lawsuit filed by 
the American Civil Liberties Union. The Bybee 
memo was put on the table April 2 as part of a 
negotiation between the ACLU and the White House 
after the Justice Department asked for a delay of 
two weeks to make a decision on releasing the Bradbury memos.

There has been much speculation in recent days 
that the White House may release 
versions of the memos, which sparked protests 
from the ACLU and other civil liberties groups 
and activists. It was also opposed by some 
administration officials, including Attorney 
General Holder, who reportedly supported a more 
complete release. In releasing the documents, 
“exceptional circumstances” compelling him to 
release them and a desire to correct “erroneous 
and inflammatory assumptions” about US actions.

If the White House has released them 
unredacted­and we do not yet know if it has­ that 
would be a victory. But, the apparent deal not to 
prosecute CIA torturers makes it a very sour victory.


See more stories tagged with: 
obama, <http://www.alternet.org/tags/aclu/>aclu, 
holder, <http://www.alternet.org/tags/torture%20memos/>torture memos

Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who 
reports frequently for the national radio and TV 
program Democracy Now!, has spent extensive time 
reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is 
currently a Puffin Writing Fellow at The Nation 
Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: 
The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary 
Army. His writing and reporting is available at 

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