Friday, April 10, 2009

C.I.A. Closes Secret Prisons

File this under "About Time":

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday that it would decommission the secret overseas prisons where it subjected Al Qaeda prisoners to brutal interrogation methods, bringing to a symbolic close the most controversial counterterrorism program of the Bush administration.

But in a statement to employees, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, said agency officers who worked in the program “should not be investigated, let alone punished” because the Justice Department under President George W. Bush had declared their actions legal.
This will no doubt be litigated and argued about for years to come: should the agents who carried out extraordinary rendition (and possible torture of suspects, which was also greenlighted by Bush administration lawyers) be criminally or civilly liable for their actions? Or should the focus of prosecution be solely on the Bush administration lawyers, as a Spanish court moved recently to indict on charges of violating international law?

Or should we "look forward, not backward," as the Obama administration seems to be doing, and simply move on?

Regardless, another chapter in the "War on Terror" seems closed. RIP, I suppose.

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