Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 07:15:56 PM EST
UPDATE at end April 17, 9:30 my time
They can be found at the American Civil Liberties Union
The Obama administration should release the still-secret memos. As the ACLU wrote in a January 28, 2009 letter to the OLC, the release of the memos would allow the public to better understand the legal basis for the Bush administration's national security policies; to better understand the role that the OLC played in developing, justifying, and advocating those policies; and to participate more meaningfully in the ongoing debate about national security, civil liberties, and human rights.
Los Angeles Times
Not only will the Obama Justice Department not prosecute any CIA personnel who "operated within the legal system," Panetta told his employees in his letter. Justice also will provide legal counsel for anyone "subject to investigations relating to these operations."
"The United States is a nation of laws," Obama's statement said. "My administration will always act in accordance with those laws, and with an unshakable commitment to our ideals."
Lawyers, Guns and Money
As Steve says, it's a mixed news day; it's good that Obama is releasing the torture memos, bad that CIA operatives who carried out torture won't be prosecuted. Admittedly, the existence of the memos does make prosecuting lower-level people a difficult proposition, and I could live with it...as soon as Yoo, Bradbury et al. are put on trial and Bybee is impeached and then put on trial.
The more one reads of this, the harder it is to credit Obama's statement today that "this is a time for reflection, not retribution." At least when it comes to the orders of our highest government leaders and the DOJ lawyers who authorized them, these are pure war crimes, justified in the most disgustingly clinical language and with clear intent of wrongdoing. FDL has a petition urging Eric Holder to immediately appoint a Special Prosecutor to determine if criminal proceedings should commence.
Obama did the right thing by releasing these memos, providing all the information and impetus the citizenry should need to demand investigations and prosecutions. But it is up to citizens to demand that the rule of law be applied.
Having said that, and only having read through the Bybee memo (pdf) authorizing the torture of Abu Zubayda, I feel like vomiting right now. This is the very definition of the banality of evil --- a dry, legalistic series of justifications for acts of barbaric cruelty.
The left is all over the release of the 4 memos. The right seems to have been slower to respond. The big issues at the right wing blogs seem to be the tea protests over taxes. Fox News did have something though:
WASHINGTON -- Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says the Obama administration is endangering the country by releasing Justice Department memos that detail the CIA's interrogation techniques authorized by the Bush administration.
Hayden tells The Associated Press the release will give terrorists a precise guide for what to expect in a CIA interrogation if those methods are ever approved for use again.
The Obama administration outlawed the techniques but has a task force reviewing the military's interrogation methods to determine if they are sufficient for CIA use.
Hayden says he worries the revelations will also deter other governments from cooperating with the United States because it shows the U.S. "can't keep anything secret."
UPDATE: I am interested in the right wing's response to the memos. This is my survey and my results:
I used Michelle Malkin's blog role to look for right wing responses to the memos. I got through to the I's then decided I had enough.
The following blogs had a post for the 17th, but have not yet covered the release of the memos. If they covered the memos on the 16th I also included them.
Ace of Spades HQ
Hot Air (Captain's Quarters)
One Hand Clapping (Donald Sensing)
Independent Women's Forum (Inkwell)
American Thinker did have a story about Obama not wearing his American flag pin.
Daily Pundit has a link to CNN on the Story. They do not at this time have any articles dated the 17th.
The Following have Comments
The OLC interrogation memos have been released, and an avalanche of predictable commentary is rolling downhill. (See, for example, Jeffrey Toobin's "I haven't read them but Jay Bybee is a federal judge!")
As the commentators show their feathers to each other, see if any of them cite a single vote by the Senate or the House to define waterboarding as torture throughout the years when the Congress was fully aware of the practice. The DOJ legal analysis was the best effort of front-line lawyers in the aftermath of a massive attack on the United States. Their Congressional critics of today who did not demand a defining vote on what constituted torture are the worst sort of hypocrites. They are the lawmakers, and chose --even when House and Senate were controlled by Democrats from January 2007 to the present-- to avoid passing a law bringing clarity to the very gray areas of the law of interrogation.
IMAO Unfair. Unbalanced. Unmedicated.
# Quote from torture memo: “Don’t forget to torture.” #
# Quote from torture memo: “Remember to charge the car battery.” #
18 blogs, 3 with coverage.
I used Hullabaloo for a comparison on the left. I did not Use Glenn Greenwald because I feel that his list of blogs covers a wider range of political views.
Today's Ideas & Actions (the big con) no
American Street no
Ezra Klein (The American Prospect) yes
Political Animal (Washington Monthly) yes
Glenn Greenwald yes
Big Brass Blog yes
Suburban Guerrilla yes
Echidne of the Snakes no
Talking Points Memo yes
Daily Kos yes
18 blogs, 13 with coverage
Obviously there is a very different set of concerns here between the left and right wing.
For the right wing, this seems to be a non-issue.