Torture Memos: The Lawyers Aren't Immune

That's the message from President Obama today:

".... the OLC memos that were released reflected, in my view, us losing our moral bearings.  That's why I've discontinued those enhanced interrogation programs. 

For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it's appropriate for them to be prosecuted.

With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that.  I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there."

Remember, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating these memos and their authors. The OPR's investigation could lead to a range of recommendations, from nothing to disbarment to prosecution. And Obama's saying that Attorney General Eric Holder, not the White House, will make that decision.  I initially thought that Obama was contradicting his chief of staff, who seemed to rule out prosecuting the lawyers on Sunday -- i..e, "those who devised the policy" -- but a White House official says that Rahm Emanuel was referring to policy-makers at the CIA.

What about policy-makers at the White House?  If they're immune -- why blame (legally blame) the lawyers who carried out their decisions? That'd be like prosecuting Enron's lawyers but allowing Ken Lay or Jeff Skilling to escape?