April 16, 2009

THE TORTURE MEMOS ARE OUT, and CIA agents won’t be prosecuted. Has a deal been cut? Or has Obama decided to keep his options open? Ann Althouse has some comments. Will Jane Hamsher break out her pitchfork for Obama? The memos are here.

My guess, actually, is that prosecution would have been awkward for Congressional Democrats:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

“The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Obama’s not ready to do anything like this to Pelosi yet.

UPDATE: An alternative theory: No prosecution because no crime.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Not so happy at Wired. With this graphic:

nope