Now let's look at those who found techniques such as the above completely acceptable and favored much, much worse. Over the weekend, Andy McCarthy put up a letter from former Attorney General Mukasey and former Deputy Attorney General Filip critiquing the OPR. Powerline:
This approach should serve as the Justice Department's guide going forward. Attack bad legal analysis, but be very, very hesitant to attack the motives or the professional competence of those you believe have committed it.
This is bad news for Holder and certain other Obama appointees at Justice it undermines the story they’ve been telling for years that the lawyers who found the CIA program lawful were sadistic criminals committed to torturing poor souls such as Khalid Sheik Muhammad but it is a vindication of an important principle that, prior to the Holder reign, had been adhered to across administrations: honestly held legal and policy opinions are not cause for prosecution or professional discipline.
So after five years of investigation, partisan accusations and unethical media leaks, the Justice Department's senior ethicist has concluded that Bush Administration lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee committed no professional misconduct. The issue now is whether the protégés of Attorney General Eric Holder who led this exercise at Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) should themselves be in the dock.
The editors rightly note that Margolis seemed compelled at the very end of the report to throw in some gratuitous jabs at Yoo. (”This is a matter of opinionakin to writing an op-ed pieceunrelated to the question of whether they behaved unethically, and it is precisely the kind of judgment that Mr. Margolis says earlier in the report that he will not render.”) But as inappropriate as those swipes may have been, let’s give some credit where credit is due. Margolis prevented a grave miscarriage of justice and in the process revealed how biased and incompetent his colleagues are. That is no easy task. The question remains as to what Eric Holder is going to do about those whose work has now been revealed to be so lacking in merit and so bereft of careful analysis. A bar referral? Well, at least a housecleaning seems to be in order.