President Barack Obama said April 21 that he would not rule out the possibility of prosecuting lawyers responsible for authoring memos released last week outlining CIA interrogation policies. Obama had previously said that he would not pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators, a pledge which drew sharp international criticism.
Obama confirmed that he would not seek the prosecution of agents involved in the interrogations, but said that he was open to holding the memos’ authors accountable for the alleged abuse. report] holding lawyers who authored the memos accountable for the interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, which many have described as “torture.” Obama said that Attorney General Eric Holder would determine whether they would be prosecuted. In response to Obama’s statements, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called for the resignation of federal judge Jay Bybee, who authored one of the memos while serving as assistant attorney general during the Bush administration.
The public release of the memos came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) during the George W. Bush administration. The ACLU has also called for an independent investigator to probe allegations of torture during the Bush administration. (Jurist, April 21)
See our last post on the torture scandal.