Barack Obama has now changed his mind and, going back on the main theme of his election campaign–post-partisanship! What a joke–says that Eric Holder will decide whether to prosecute Justice Department lawyers for writing legal opinions that Eric Holder now disagrees with. (I’m curious to see what criminal statute they will claim the DOJ lawyers violated. To my knowledge, authoring a legal analysis with which Eric Holder disagrees is not a crime.) But that’s not all: Congressional Democrats are moving full speed toward hearings on the charge that the Bush administration was mean to terrorists. In fact, House and Senate committees are competing for the “honor”:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California pointedly noted that her Intelligence Committee already is investigating the Bush administration’s legal underpinnings for the interrogation program and the value of information gained from it. And several Democratic leaders appeared to favor using that panel for any hearings.
I think that’s a great idea. Sen. Feinstein can call herself as the first witness and explain why she enthusiastically endorsed waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques back in the days before the Bush administration devastated al Qaeda, and we were all worried about being blown up.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Senate Democrats have disclosed the existence of five “previously unacknowledged secret memos” on interrogation. These “unacknowledged secret memos” are “hidden in government file cabinets.”
Sounds like a scandal, right? Well, it might be if the memos said that waterboarding was illegal or ineffective. Only they don’t: they add to the existing body of legal analysis that supports what the Bush administration did to fight terrorists. So what we are learning, as more and more “secret memos” are brought to light, is that the Bush administration was extraordinarily scrupulous in analyzing the difficult and unprecedented issues involved in getting critical information from terrorists, and carefully followed what top legal experts said were the legal boundaries.
There is a scandal here, of course: the scandal is the Democrats’ effort to gain politically from double-crossing CIA officials and DOJ lawyers whose anti-terrorism efforts they once endorsed. It’s hard not to get a sense of vertigo from the topsy-turvy nature of the news coming out of Washington.
PAUL adds: I hope that there are no prosecutions and no hearings. They would be bad for the country, bad for the defendants, and unjust.
However, the prosecutions, and even more so congressional or other hearings, would probably be good politically for Republicans. Things may be topsy-turvy, but not to the point that the public wants to see recriminations against public officials who formulated policies that were intended to, and from all appearances did, keep the nation safe from terrorism. Moreover hearings would enable these officials to have their say; right now the left-wing MSM largely controls what the public learns about these issues.
Obama understands this. That is why he — and even more tellingly, his smartest political operative Rahm Emanuel — initially seemed to be against the idea of prosecutions and showed little enthusiasm for congressional hearings.
Why has Obama shifted his position? Probably because he is weak, indecisive, and “not always up to standard on decision-making.”