Torturing The Right Way

by Patrick Appel

Glenn Greeenwald is not a fan of the investigation Holder announced today:

As a practical matter, Holder is consciously establishing as the legal baseline -- he's vesting with sterling legal authority -- those warped, torture-justifying DOJ memos.  Worse, his pledge of immunity today for those who complied with those memos went beyond mere interrogators and includes everyone, policymakers and lawyers alike:  "the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees."  Thus, as long as, say, a White House official shows that (a) the only torture methods they ordered were approved by the OLC and (b) they did not know those methods were criminal, then they would be entitled to full-scale immunity under the standard Holder announced today.

This quite likely sets up, at most, a process where a few low-level sacrificial lambs -- some extra-sadistic intelligence versions of Lynndie Englands -- might be investigated and prosecuted where they tortured people the wrong way.  Those who tortured "the right way" -- meaning the way the OLC directed -- will receive full-scale immunity.

Andrew feared this type of investigation calling it "much worse than doing nothing."