During the 2008 Presidential campaign Barack Obama pledged that his Administration would look forward and not revisit the past, referring specifically to the issue of CIA interrogations. After taking office, in fact, just a few months ago, President Obama again pledged that he was only interested in looking forward and did not intend to revisit the past. Unfortunately, the President has not kept his word.
The Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr., has named a special prosecutor to go after CIA interrogators, who got information from terrorist suspects, using controversial methods. The only issue that is really important here is that since the terrible attacks against our country on September 11, 2001, our country has not been attacked again. Using tactics that were controversial, and perhaps even wrong, when looked at through the prism of the immediate period of right after September 11, should not be a reason for prosecution.
The Administration has every right to decide not to use those controversial methods during their term in office, but to prosecute CIA officers who followed instructions from their superior, is simply wrong and in fact will place the American people in great peril. The CIA is the agency that our country relies on to gather intelligence needed to keep Americans safe. To demoralize this very important agency during this very critical time in our country’s history is wrong and places the American people in danger.
I am not condoning the use of torture, if that in fact is what American intelligence officers did. As an American, I think all of us can agree that the United States should not and does not resort to torture to secure intelligence information. However, there is simply no useful purpose to be served by prosecuting CIA operatives who did what they were told to do in order to protect our country. They thought they were operating within the law and defending our nation.
I agree with the recent statement of Senator Joe Lieberman, who said “I . . . fear our country will come to regret the decision of the Attorney General because an open ended criminal investigation of past CIA activity, which has already been condemned and prohibited will have a chilling effect on the men and women agents of our intelligence community.” Senator Lieberman has it right, and Eric Holder has it wrong.
Unfortunately, the actions of Eric Holder have placed our great country in danger.
Cross posted at Tom Ganley for US Senate
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