The closing of the two cases means that the Obama administration’s limited effort to scrutinize the counterterrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush has come to an end. Without elaborating, Mr. Holder suggested that the end of the criminal investigation should not be seen as a moral exoneration of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths. [..] Mr. Holder had already ruled out any charges related to the use of waterboarding and other methods that most human rights experts consider to be torture. His announcement closes a contentious three-year investigation by the Justice Department and brings to an end years of dispute over whether line intelligence or military personnel or their superiors would be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. [The New York Times]
PRESIDENT OBAMA decided to let the policies that led to torture under the watch of Pres. George W. Bush fade into history’s tomb without the American people knowing what was done in our name. Sen. Patrick Leahy had wanted a “truth commission” to expose what happened in the Bush-Cheney administration, but Pres. Obama was against it. This was the beginning of a habit of Barack Obama to put politics above principle.
Not even George W. Bush writing “damn right!” he sanctioned torture in his memoir could make a dent in Eric Holder.
Human Rights First released this statement on Thursday:
Washington, DC — Today, in response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that the Department of Justice will drop its criminal investigation of CIA agents involved in torture, Human Rights First’s Melina Milazzo said:
“Torture is illegal and out of step with American values. Attorney General Holder’s announcement is disappointing because it’s well documented that in the aftermath of 9/11 torture and abuse was widespread and systematic. These cases deserved to be taken more seriously from the outset. When you don’t take seriously the duty to investigate criminal acts at the beginning, resolution becomes even more difficult a decade later. It’s shocking that the department’s review of hundreds of instances of torture and abuse will fail to hold even one person accountable.”
In 2006, Human Rights First released a report, Command’s Responsibility, examining the deaths of almost 100 detainees in U.S. military custody. Human Rights First found that although nearly half of those cases appeared to have been the result of homicide or physical abuse, U.S. officials were punished in connection with only 12 of those cases. Moreover, the stiffest sentence given to a U.S. official for a torture-related death was only 5 months in prison.
Former C.I.A. officer John C. Kiriakou is awaiting trial after he disclosed the names of individuals that were involved in torture to the press.
Rep. Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee chairman who is from the battleground state of Michigan, was “pleased.”
C.I.A. directory David Petraeus thanked Holder.
The C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus, who as an Army general had spoken out against brutal interrogations, issued a cautious statement to agency employees about Mr. Holder’s announcement. He thanked C.I.A. officers “who played a role in supporting the Justice Department’s inquiries” and added, “As intelligence officers, our inclination, of course, is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past.”