Reasons for the Obama Justice Department to Prosecute ACLU/”John Adams” Project Lawyers
Let’s hope that the Justice Department’s investigation (see Justin’s post) leads in due course to prosecution. If it does not, the United States may well be left blind, without an intelligence/counter-intelligence department because no one will be willing to take or keep such important jobs.
And who could blame them? In the absence of prosecution in this case, misguided ACLU lawyers and other individuals will be emboldened in the future to take similar actions against agents and government officials who commit these and less serious “offenses”.
In the process of doing a little research on this matter, I came across a remarkable statement by one of the ACLU attorneys involved.
[“O’Reilly Factor” Producer Dan] BANK: Ma’am, you’ve hired researchers to follow CIA agents around all over the place and then show them to Al Qaeda terrorists, the same people who organized September 11th.
[Attorney Nina] GINSBERG: What they did was try and find out who the names and the identities of the people who tortured, illegally tortured people because the government won’t turn over that information, and people in this country have a right to defend themselves. Sir, get out of my way.
BANK: Ma’am, hold on one second.
GINSBERG: Sir, get out of my way.
BANK: Because there are federal laws prohibiting sharing classified information like that.
GINSBERG: It’s not classified. If there’s a person walking in the street who has a picture taken of himself, that is not classified information.
So she denies that the actions of the “John Adams” Project have endangered those CIA agents. Though this was not originally one of the reasons for prosecution, possibly Attorney Ginsberg would better comprehend the implications of such actions if they were systematically presented during a trial.
The other reason to prosecute pertains to the more pragmatic matter of turf. Looked at another way, this is an extreme example of getting justice by taking the law into one’s own hands. (It could also have become a form of unofficial rendition, something that the ACLU presumably deplores, as do most of us.) While some in the Justice Department and in the administration may secretly sympathize with those who attempted to help and/or get revenge for those who may (or may not) have been tortured, the Justice Department hopefully has the attitude that it will suffer no unofficial competition in the area of justice and law enforcement.