It’s Definite: President Obama Will Not Prosecute Members of Bush Admin for “Torture” Crimes
So reports Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff in a fascinating article posted last Thursday. (H/T Newsbusters.) The decision was announced during an off-the-record meeting that President Obama held last Wednesday with some disgruntled supporters.
Administration officials organized the session just a few days [prior], summoning the leaders of groups such as Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU, as well as several liberal law professors. As a sign of how seriously the White House took the matter, just about all of Obama’s senior staff were there, including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, White House counsel Gregory Craig, senior adviser David Axelrod and [Attorney General Eric] Holder.
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It was at that point, toward the end of the meeting, that one attendee raised the idea of criminal prosecution of at least one Bush-era official, if only as a symbolic gesture. Obama dismissed the idea, several of those in attendance said, making it clear that he had no interest in such an investigation. Holder—whose department is supposed to make the call on criminal prosecutions—reportedly said nothing.
The other fascinating aspect if this is the silence by the mainstream media. Where are the headlines, the blaring chyrons, the brisk debates among talking heads about this significant development? NewsBusters P.J. Gladnick theorizes that they are, essentially, covering up for the president.
And Rachel Maddow has provided us with another reason why there has been almost no coverage of this meeting in the MSM. Because it would show Obama’s deceptiveness. Saying the matter of prosecutions were up to the Attorney General in public while in private making the decision to cut them off.
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So it is fascinating to once again see a story being widely discussed in the Blogosphere while being almost completely ignored in the MSM. Obama saying one thing in public and quite another in private. And that is why the mainstream media is reluctant to report on it.
There is no doubt a reluctance on their part to show the president in a bad light, though I would disagree with P.J.’s characterization of the President’s actions; i.e., the negative quality that the press is not anxious to expose. Rather than “deceptiveness”, it would be more accurate to say “propensity to make decisions in excess haste and without thinking things through”.
His handling of this matter is a good example. He released the four memos about post-911 enhanced interrogations and announced his intention to prosecute almost fliply and as a political reflex. However, after some reflection – upon the participants’ motives? upon the implications for national security? upon the potential political blowback to members of his own party? – he has reached a more prudent conclusion. For this, he is to be applauded.