Torture Judge Lawyers Up
Jay Bybee seems to understand that the President is not the nation's chief prosecutor, and the release of the torture memos leaves him legally exposed. So he's done some hiring.
The Obama Administration assured CIA employees Thursday that they would not be prosecuted, but the White House has offered no cover to Bybee or other government lawyers.
So for now, Bybee is on his own. The good news, however, he’s got a nationally recognized lawyer on his side, Latham & Watkins’s Maureen Mahoney, who’s handling the case pro bono. In an e-mail Thursday, Mahoney said Bybee has recused himself from Latham cases, but offered no further comment on his case.
There are actually about a dozen cases that could fall under the 9th Circuit's purview, including a case against Bybee's former subordinate John Yoo, that Bybee has had to recuse himself from. So in addition to being morally unfit for office, Bybeecan barely fulfill the duties, he's so ethically compromised.
As Digby notes, Barack Obama actually doesn't hold the key to whether or not the architects of torture get prosecuted. That falls under the Justice Department, and all Eric Holder has said is that they'll not seek prosecution against those who followed OLC guidelines. And if they want to take it out of politics, all they have to do is appoint a special prosecutor. The nation's fabric didn't fall asunder when Scooter Libby was convicted. We can handle it.
And Russ Feingold agrees:
"I understand that the president believes that the people who actually administered these tactics should be immune. I'm not sure about that. I understand that they have a greater argument than those who created the policies. But those who created these legal theories, knowing full well that there was not a reasonable argument, I'm not so sure they shouldn't be accountable. I don't see how we as a country say oh fine we knew this was against international law, we knew it was against our own laws, and these people can come up with any phony legal opinion they want. I've read these opinions because I'm on the intelligence committee and had access to them much earlier than the public. These arguments are bogus.."
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