CIA Interrogations Uproar: “How well, if at all, will this president stand up to his party?”

Bloggers of the Democrat left are overjoyed today at news that President Barack Obama may yet authorize the Attorney General to “go after” Bush Administration officials for what they call the “torture” of Gitmo.

But Brit Hume of Fox News said, the controversey over the CIA interrogation techniques, “Puts the president and his administration in a tight bind.”

Many in Mr. Obama’s own party have demanded investigations into what it calls “torture.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, wrote Mr. Obama asking him not to rule out prosecutions until her panel completed an investigation over the next six to eight months.

“How well, if at all, will this president stand up to his party?” Hume wondered.

Last week the Obama White House released to the public formerly classified U.S. government documents describing the Bush-era CIA interrogation techniques.

Related:
Obama “leaves door open” to Bush officials’ prosecution over CIA interrogations

Former CIA directors and current CIA director Leon Panetta objected to the president’s release of the documents, news reports said.

Leon Panetta 
Above: Leon Panetta.  Photo by AP

But the White House went out of its way to assure people that they had no intention of chasing aster bush officials over the “torture.”

Pressure from the world and the left of the Democratic Party was intense.

On Sunday, the White House trotted out chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to set the record straight.

In this photo provided by ABC White House Chief of Staff Rahm ... 

“It’s not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back” out of “any sense of anger and retribution,” Emanuel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The Washington Post reported on Monday, “The Obama administration opposes any effort to prosecute those in the Justice Department who drafted legal memos authorizing harsh interrogations at secret CIA prisons, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said yesterday.”

On Monday, President Obama went to the CIA to reassure employees that there would be no further trials or investigations.

Less than 24 hours later, the real Obama emerged.

News reports today said, “the president left the door open to prosecutions” in the interrogation cases.

On Monday afternoon, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs tried to clear things up.

“It was the most contentious briefing ever for the Obama White House,” said Major Garrett of Fox News.

Gibbs seemed to say the next move had nothing to do with President Obama and was up to Attorney general Eric Holder.

FILE - In this April 15, 2009 file photo, Attorney General Eric ... 
Above: Attorney General Eric Holder …. Seeking to move beyond what he calls a ‘a dark and painful chapter in our history,’ President Barack Obama said Thursday, April 16, 2009, that CIA officials who used harsh interrogation tactics during the Bush administration will not be prosecuted.(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, FILE)

Gidds also said the Obama team had a disagreement on this issue with former Vice president Cheney for more than two years.

Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News said, “The Obama Administrations seems to want to prosecute Vice President Dick Cheney.”

On Sunday former CIA chief Michael Hayden warned that the release of the documents could still leave agents vulnerable to civil lawsuits or congressional probes targeting CIA operatives who relied on the Bush-era memos to carry out harsh interrogations.

“There will be more revelations. There will be more commissions. There will be more investigations,” he told Chris Wallace on the program “Fox News Sunday.”

Cheney told Sean Hannity of Fox News Monday that  he found the administration’s release of memos about CIA interrogation techniques “a little bit disturbing” since the government has not also release documents he claims would show “the success of the effort.”


Cheney on Fox News last night.

Cheney said he has “formally asked” for the declassification of documents he says would “lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/04
/21/another-day-another-obama-flip-flop/

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CNN:

Obama said it will be up to Attorney General Eric Holder to decide whether or not to prosecute the former officials.

“With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more a decision for the attorney general within the parameter of various laws, and I don’t want to prejudge that,” Obama said during a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah at the White House.

“There’s a host of very complicated issues involved there. As a general deal, I think we should be looking forward and not backward.

“I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.”

President Obama says any congressional investigation should be conducted in a bipartisan fashion.

President Obama says any congressional investigation should be conducted in a bipartisan fashion.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
4/21/obama.memos/index.html

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In a move sure to accelerate the push for a wide-ranging investigation of Bush administration misdeeds, President Obama today said he is not opposed to some sort of “further accounting of what took place during this period,” as long as it doesn’t get “so politicized that we cannot function effectively and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.”

He also said that, while he has ruled out prosecution of the people who followed the legal guidance provided by Department of Justice, he wasn’t taking a position on what should happen to people higher up in the chain of command. “With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws, and — and I don’t want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.”

Obama’s constant insistence that “we should be looking forward and not backwards” — which he repeated today — had led to a perception that he was dead-set against further investigation of any kind. In today’s comments, he said that the only thing he’s really opposed to is a traditional congressional investigation.

“[I]f and when there needs to be a further accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break it entirely along party lines, to the extent that there are independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility, that would probably be a more sensible approach to take,” he said.

From the Washington Post:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com
/white-house-watch/?hpid=opinionsbox1

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