President-elect Obama, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” would not rule out political retribution dressed up as investigations of the looney left-wing’s fanciful allegations of Bush administration war-crimes:
STEPHANOPOULOS: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City and he asks, “Will you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.”
OBAMA: We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, no 9/11 commission with Independence subpoena power?
OBAMA: We have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing. That doesn’t mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation’s going to be to move forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let me just press that one more time. You’re not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?
OBAMA: What I — I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is he is the people’s lawyer. Eric Holder’s been nominated. His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people, not to be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So, ultimately, he’s going to be making some calls, but my general belief is that when it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed looking at what we got wrong in the past.
During the campaign, Obama promised that one of his first acts as president would be to call on
his new Attorney General to investigate the Bush administration:
A transcript of the KJFK radio Obama interview is available at NewsBusters.
Attorney General-Designate Holder has already made his mind up on many of the issues the for which the left wants its political retribution:
Allegations of Torture: “The notion that the Department of Justice would in essence sanction the use of torture as part of the President’s plenary power over military operations is as wrong as it is shortsighted. This position flies in the face of the entire history of American law, helping to create a climate in which unnecessarily abusive conduct can somehow be considered legitimate.” [Remarks to ACS Conference, 6/19/04]
“We must declare without qualification that it is the law, policy, and practice of the United States government that we do not torture people and we do not subject people to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.” [ACS Conference, 6/14/08]
Closing Guantanamo: “Guantanamo Bay is an international embarassment. Some of our closest allies see this prison as a symbol of what America has become. We should close Guantanamo Bay, transfer the remaining prisoners to military prisons in the United States.” [ACS Conference, 6/14/08]
Extraordinary Rendition: “We must end all U.S. government practice and programs, covert or otherwise, that transfer individuals involuntarily to other countries that are known to engage in torture.” [ACS Conference, 6/14/08]
Indefinite Detentions Of Non-U.S. Citizen Terror Suspects: “It seems to me you can think of these people as combatants and we are in the middle of a war, and it seems to me that you could probably say, looking at precedent, that you are going to detain these people until war is over, if that is ultimately what we wanted to do.” [CNN, 1/02 via Glen Greenwald]
Terrorist Surveillance Program: “I never thought I would see that a President would act in direct defiance of Federal law by authorizing warentless NSA surveillance of American citizens. This disrespect for the rule of law is not only wrong it destructive in our struggle against terrorism.” [ACS Conference, 6/14/08]
If Obama is truly interested in governing in a bipartisan fashion he should withdraw the nomination Holder to be Attorney General, rule out the political investigation of the Bush administration and thank President Bush for not investigating Holder’s involvement in President Clinton’s last minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose wife, a Democratic fund-raiser, contributed $450,000 to Clinton’s presidential library foundation and more than $100,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign.