Via Glenn Greenwald. His whole post is worth reading.
I don’t think so. However, seven former CIA directors have sent a letter to President Obama and they “urge [him] to exercise [his] authority to reverse Attorney General’s August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations.” What so-called “authority” are they talking about?
The President doesn’t order specific people to be prosecuted or shielded from prosecution. Only Justice Department officials, assessing purely legal factors, make those determinations.
President Obama has acknowledged this fact.
What criminal investigations do the former CIA directors want to stop? Greenwald cites a report in the Washington Post (from anonymous DOJ sources) and concludes (emphasis in original):
The only thing Holder wants investigated — what has provoked all of this intense Beltway uproar — is “two or three cases” where detainees were killed. Contrary to how this has been debated, what Holder has ordered is not a “torture investigation.” To the contrary, he said explicitly that those who tortured in good faith compliance with Yoo’s torture memos will be immunized. It isn’t torture techniques which are being considered for prosecution. All Holder has ordered are basically just garden-variety murder investigations…
…But even that is too much for our political class. Apparently, not only should executive branch officials and their agencies be allowed to institute a torture regime, spy on Americans illegally, and commit war crimes , but they should also be allowed literally to get away with murder.
How far will Obama administration’s Department of Justice ignore the rule of law in order to condone U.S. government lawlessness? We’ll find out in the coming months.