Obama DOJ Gives CIA Officials Who Engaged in Torture a Free Pass

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The Obama administration on Thursday informed CIA officials who engaged in such harsh interrogation tactics as waterboarding on terror suspects that they will not be prosecuted.


Even before President Barack Obama took office in January, aides signaled his administration was not likely to bring criminal charges against CIA employees for their roles in the secret, coercive terrorist interrogation program. It had been deemed legal at the time through opinions issued by the Justice Department under the Bush administration.

But the statement issued Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is the first definitive assurance that those CIA officials are in the clear, as long as their actions were in line with the legal advice at the time.

The Hail Mary pass is seen by the human rights community as the first step in establishing a legal precedent that will be used by former members of the Bush administration if they are charged with authorizing torture by a court of law at some future date.

On Tuesday, Spanish prosecutors decided to move forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other Bush administration associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo Bay.

In addition to Gonzales, they include: Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith.

This entry was posted in CIA, Eric Holder, International News, News, Obama Administration, Torture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Obama DOJ Gives CIA Officials Who Engaged in Torture a Free Pass

  1. bradfrmphnx says:

    No surprise there.

    To my chagrin. What could possibly be the motive for not charging them? A hurry to get this behind us. Not wanting to bring it up everyday while the world watches the arrests, trials, ect. Or…letting Bushy off the hook.

  2. Brad,

    How do you say, Bush-light?

  3. The Magus says:

    When will the Left wake up? The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.
    This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one — not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration — has ever interpreted the law this way.
    Essentially, the Obama Adminstration has claimed that the government cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any federal statutes. Can you say Sovereign Immunity and still believe Obama did NOT lie to you? No wonder this fraud voted YES on FISA.
    As far as State Secrets are concerned, Obama embraces the exact same abuses of power Bush did including Rendition/torture. When will you all finally get the fact, Obama duped you and yes lied while the cheerleading for this fraud continues as if none of you see it. Amazing and revealing.

  4. Brigadoon says:

    Call it another disappointment from the Obama administration on a major issue 99% of civil libertarians care very deeply about. I wonder why the new president isn’t committed to justice and truth and reconciliation but, protecting the former administration and its minions?

  5. taco says:

    “As far as State Secrets are concerned, Obama embraces the exact same abuses of power Bush did including Rendition/torture.”


    This appears to be the case. I’m very troubled by this.

  6. Conejo1982 says:

    You are 100% correct, Christopher when you say Obama’s decision to not prosecute the CIA agents who broke the law and performed torture will be used as legal precedent by this and future CIA agents and presidents.

    Obama’s mistake is shameful but it is also cynically self-serving and I fear, just plain dumb wrong.

    How can we tell the world we’re different now that Bush is gone when Obama is following Bush down the same path?

  7. Randy Arroyo says:

    A leader is is accountable for the behavior of the people who work in their administration. Yet, Mr. Obama seems to think it is his responsibility to carry that burden for a disgraced, former Republican president and offer a pass to the likes of Stephen Bradbury, John Yoo, and Jay Bybee. It boggles the minds and I feel embarrassed for Mr. Obama.

  8. Randy, I’m embarrassed and outraged for this country. Unfuckingacceptable.

  9. JollyRoger says:

    When the history of this country is written a few years from now, this will be marked as one of the “no saving it” events.

    Just watch.

  10. TOM339 says:

    Electrodes, waterboarding, sleep deprivation and slapping, did not violate laws against torture since there was no intent to cause severe pain, according to a Bush-era memo on the tactics released Thursday.

    And the CIA agents who carried out these Orwellian tactics were only following orders, so they can’t be prosecuted.

    So somebody tell again now, why is Lindsey England serving time in a Federal prison for Abu Ghraib? After all, she was only following orders too.

    President Obama is fond of saying he’s “looking forward and not backward” as the reason he refuses to prosecute those agents who broke the law and tortured. Are you sure, Mr. Obama? Or, could it be you’re afraid of the CIA?

  11. libhomo says:

    Obama is as much of a Republican as the Clintons.

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