Being Vague Is A Crime?

by Patrick Appel

Daphne Eviatar asks if intentionally vague torture guidelines by Yoo et al could be criminal:

If the Justice Department lawyers who approved those guidelines knew they left substantial room for misinterpretation but approved them anyway, they could be implicated in encouraging the interrogators’ transgressions. Whether that’s a criminal offense, an ethics violation or just sloppy lawyering, it directly implicates the Justice Department in the CIA’s actions.

This seems more likely to be raised in defense of the CIA interrogators than against the lawyers. An investigation of the relationship between the OLC and the executive might turn up criminal wrongdoing, but bad legal work isn't prosecutable on its own. Otherwise, The Washington Independent is doing an impressive job of picking apart today's torture releases.