The Obama administration has apparently decided to look back and not forward, despite the president’s promise to do the opposite. The Los Angeles Times reports:
U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said. A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be narrow in scope, focusing on “whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized” in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws.
Now the chances of actually convicting anyone is slight we are told. (“Current and former CIA and Justice Department officials who have firsthand knowledge of the interrogation files contend that criminal convictions will be difficult to obtain because the quality of evidence is poor and the legal underpinnings have never been tested.”) And even dogged activists opposed to Bush-era policies find it unseemly to go after “low-ranking operators.” But that won’t stop Attorney General Eric Holder, who presumably has the full backing of the president.
Moreover, any suggestion that this prosecution is required by the “law” or that the “facts have led” the Justice Department inextricably to this decision is nonsense. As the Times details, the law on “torture” requires that the defendant have harbored specific intent to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (“a daunting legal threshold”), and it appears that the accused CIA operatives were not even informed of the applicable standards they allegedly violated.
So what is really going on here?
Once again, as we have so often seen in the Obama-Holder Justice Department, we are left to conclude that this is not the impartial enforcement of law but a political agenda at work. Whether it is dismissal of a judgment against the New Black Panthers in an obvious case of voter intimidation, throwing out decades-old Justice Department precedent on voting rights for the District of Columbia, or recommending that the president must release detainee abuse photos, the Holder Justice Department evidences one goal: how to further the agenda of the far left. In each of these cases obvious legal precedent and relevant facts are overlooked in furtherance of an objective which invariably pleases the president’s netroot base including the most liberal members of Congress.