Fever swamp hardest hit
We’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for news to come down from the Justice Department on what might become of John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the two Bush administration lawyers largely responsible for authoring the famous torture memos.
Well, we finally have word. And it appears that the DOJ will largely let the pair go with little more than a slap on the wrist. Click here for the story from Newsweek, which broke the news; here for a followup from over the weekend from the Washington Post. (Hat tip: Nuts & Boalts)
According to a forthcoming ethics report issued by the DOJ’s ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility, Yoo and Bybee will be wrist-slapped for exercising poor judgment but will not be referred to authorities for possible sanctions.
The news represents a bit of a reversal from what the DOJ had initially concluded, it seems. A draft report prepared at the end of the Bush years recommended that Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Bybee, now a federal appeals court judge in Nevada, be referred to state disciplinary authorities for sanctions that could have included the revocation of their licenses to practice.
But then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip blasted the analysis in the draft and sent it back to the ethics office for more work. Current AG Eric Holder assigned the project to his new leader of the professional responsibility office, veteran D.C. prosecutor Mary Patrice Brown. Brown took months to carefully review and revise the lengthy report.
Ultimately, however, it seems the decision to stop short of disciplinary recommendations for Yoo and Bybee fell to David Margolis, who has spent more than three decades at the center of some of the most sensitive issues at the Justice Department.
As Newsweek points out, handling the case is really a no-winner for Holder. Had he pushed for disciplinary actions against Bybee, Yoo and a third former Bush administration lawyer, Steven Bradbury, it clearly would have been seen as a political move. But this news is almost sure to anger many on the left.
No CIA officers are involved in this revelation from the DOJ, but Holder should have made the same assessment about those officers. If you're on the Left, and your head just exploded over what I just wrote, calm down and have some dip. Those officers were operating under the protections of the Bush Justice department which, in their wisdom, saw nothing wrong with the methods we used on those terrorists.
Understand, please, that not all detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. Only a choice few (three to be exact) were subjected to such methods, and those methods were needed because the terrorists were tough nuts to crack. For those who believe that those methods were illegal, you need to understand that the terrorists aren't US citizens. They're not entitled to the same rights as we are. We really need to quit treating these animals like they're US citizens. They're foreigners and they're terrorists, and they'll kill any one of us for being the infidels they believe us to be without batting an eye.
The terrorists, no matter how big or small the fish may be, have information that we can use to prevent further attacks on this nation. Unless there is serious evidence that any interrogator violated their mandated mission (like playing a Jack Bauer-like "hero") there shouldn't be ANY charges filed against ANYONE involved in this program. The Bush administration went through painstaking steps to ensure that what the interrogators did was legal. The legal basis for the use of these methods is rooted in Article II, Section 2 powers of a president in a time of war. To do what it takes to prevent an attack on America -- in the interest of national security -- we can do whatever we feel is necessary to elicit intelligence from these people. (When it comes to US citizens that are involved with al Qaeda, there are other steps we have to undertake to preserve their rights.) When it comes to foreign nationals captured on a battlefield that aren't in uniform, under the command of a known leader, and not under any nation's flag there are no rights for them. We extended them the rights under the Geneva Convention even though we didn't have to.
The high value targets were interrogated under the harshest means. That includes waterboarding which IS NOT torture. They gave us information to roll up terrorist cells across the globe. They gave us actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks. To prosecute the men who got us this information is a crime in and of itself. (That's my opinion, folks.) They did their best to ensure America wouldn't face another 9-11, or worse, again. They should be recognized, given a medal, and honored for their service not threatened with prosecution. The clearing of John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury should be the initial shot that clears the interrogators.
Published 8:52 AM on 2 February 2010