David Edwards and Stephen Webster
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley wants the Obama administration to “do the right thing” by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s torture program.
“I hope, at a minimum, President Obama will end this just endless performance of Hamlet on the Potomac, debating whether a special prosecutor will be appointed, whether these crimes will be investigated, and do the right thing,” he said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night. “Just appoint a special prosecutor and let the chips land where they may.”
Judge Jay Bybee, who co-authored memos that authorized the Bush administration’s torture program, is trying to reach out and lobby members of the Nevada delegation in hopes that he won’t be disbarred from his seat on the bench, Maddow said.
Bybee, who has offices in Las Vegas, is one of several former Bush administration attorneys who are harshly criticized by an internal Justice Department report for their “deeply flawed” and “sloppily reasoned” legal analysis in approving torture.
The memo, which has not yet been released, is rumored to recommend disbarment for Bybee and John Yoo, another Bush administration attorney heavily involved in producing the so-called “torture memos.”
Speaking of Bybee, Turley said, “I think there would be insurmountable pressure from other judges: if you were thrown from the state bar, you have to leave the court.”
Turley also hit Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for apparently being briefed on the torture program and the techniques it would encompass, but failing to speak out. Pelosi later said she had no idea the techniques would actually be used.
“Does that mean you could sit through any crime as long as it’s given in the future tense?” Turley asked. “That never really was a good defense. What this really does show is we have a lot of collusion from Democrats. The Bush administration was very adept at coopting Democrats, bringing them in at a time when they were not going to challenge President Bush because they were afraid it would affect them politically. Now they’re seeing the awful costs of that and desperately trying to avoid it.”
A document released by the CIA on Friday showed that Democrats were routinely briefed on the Bush administration’s torture program but were bound by secrecy laws to remain silent. Only Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) dissented privately to the administration and the CIA.
A study released Friday by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that increased instances of torture routinely result in an escalation in terrorism.
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