Terror Prosecutions In Doubt

An initial draft report by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel concludes that attorneys Jay Bybee, John Woo, and Stephen Bradbury showed a severe lapse in judgment in advocating for the use of torture but stops short of recommending criminal prosecution for their role in aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes.  In lieu of criminal prosecutions the OLC investigators recommend referring these matters to the state bar associations for possible reprimand or disbarment.  

Now, the report is not final, and it is entirely possible that Attorney General Holder will disagree with the conclusion drawn by the OLC investigators.  That is about as likely as Al Franken getting seated as Minnesota’s second senator before July 4th– if it happens it will be an event that defies every sense of political inertia and common wisdom.

Among the biggest issue the report should address is whether or not the conclusions reached by Bybee, Woo, and Bradbury showed independent-albeit criminally negligent- legal judgment, or if they were the result of pressure from the CIA to justify torture techniques already implemented.  Simply put, were the opinions issued to guide the CIA in upholding the law (as absurd as that may sound) or were they issued to help shield the CIA from previous unlawful acts while justifying future crimes?

The problem with punting this issue to the state bar associations for disbarment, is that either scenario above represents an ethics violation that would justify disbarment.  However, only the latter scenario has these lawyers as actual actors in an international torture ring.  For a tenured law professor at UC Berkeley (Yoo) and a federal appeals court judge (Bybee), disbarment would be create some professional problems, but ultimately mean very little in the long run.  

photo courtesy of amandabhslater via Flickr


Sarah T.
Sarah T.7 years ago

The FACT that our congress has so far left the criminals from the last administration unpunished and un convicted of war crimes, our pentagon and cia are welded at the waste(waist) and budgets are secret, not even included in the rest of the usa debt ridden hole...speaks LOUDLY!
Cia uses drugs and dealers to screw with political views and manipulates elections and lives, has for years-remember Nicaragua?-Obama should release the hounds and go for the justice and truth-stop protecting those at the top...

Edward Scerbo
Edward Scerbo7 years ago

As far as the title of this article goes all I can say is: "Imagine my surprise". But there's a bigger issue here namely why should Bybee, Woo, and Bradbury be the fall guys for our ex-president and ex-vice president when everyone knows they were at the root of it? Hell our ex-vice president even publicly bragged about it.

William Mosely
William Mosely7 years ago

Neither Bush NOR Obama can hide from the Truth. Obama swore to protect the Constitution against ALL enemy -- foreign AND domestic. I am sick and tired of this moronic view by Barrick Obama. Do your damned job, or impeach your sorry ass. How the hell told you that you were above the same law that Bush hide behind?

William Mosely
William Mosely7 years ago

If the CIA and the NSA wants to play, "I was only follow orders," we deserve everything Bush did to our country, and the world. If Obama wishes to hide being "looking forward" he just lost my damned vote. He is nothing more than Bush with a smile.