Forms of Accountabilty

by Patrick Appel

Scott Horton interviews David Cole, author of The Torture Memos:

I believe that there must be some form of official accountability for these wrongs, and some official recognition that the illegality included the actions of the lawyers who wrote the memos and the Cabinet officials who authorized the tactics. Criminal prosecution, however, is just one form of accountability. There are other forms. They might include civil judgments against the perpetrators, the report of an independent commission, a censure or apology from Congress, bar disciplinary actions for lawyers, impeachment for Judge Bybee, or the dismissal of Professor John Yoo. I do not think we have enough facts yet to know what precise form of accountability is warranted for each individual. And therefore I think the best route for the moment would be an independent commission, armed with subpoena power, comprised of people who are trusted by all and above partisan politics, to conduct a full investigation. I am confident that if that happened, it would ultimately lead to some official recognition of the wrongs that were committedand that is critical to ensuring that it not happen again.