From the April 2009 Idaho Observer:
Obama will not prosecute torture WASHINGTON, D.C.
Obama will not prosecute torture
WASHINGTON, D.C.—"The White House has announced that CIA operatives, including contractors, who followed Bush guidelines for torturing prisoners will not be prosecuted for these actions, regardless of the Obama administration’s position on the legality of the techniques they used. ‘[I]t is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution,’ President Obama said in a statement released today" Jeremy Scahill reported April 16, 2009.
The announcement coincides with the release of several torture memos and signifies a victory for Bush administration lawyers providing legal cover for U.S. government torture.
The Washington Post also reported that Obama administration officials said they would provide legal representation at no cost to CIA employees in international tribunals or U.S. congressional inquiries into alleged torture. They also said they would indemnify agency workers against any possible financial judgments.
"It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
This position by the Obama White House is untenable with his campaign criticisism of the Bush administration but is consistent with his presidential "forgiveness" of Bush era policies that include unwarranted spying on Americans (see page 5).
The recently released "Bradbury" memos, drafted in 2005, detail CIA enhanced interrogation’ techniques and torture. The administration has also reportedly released a 2002 memo written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo and signed by Jay Bybee. The New York Times described that memo as "a legal authorization for a laundry list of proposed CIA interrogation techniques."
The release of the memos is being touted by the Obama administration as indicative of its "open government" policy.