Monday, August 24, 2009

Lieberman and the crytocracy

Senator Lieberman hits the nail on the head:

"These public servants must of course live within the law but they must also be free to do their dangerous and critical jobs without worrying that years from now a future Attorney General will authorize a criminal investigation of them for behavior that a previous Attorney General concluded was authorized and legal."

What are you supposed to do? you are a CIA agent and are ordered to do something by the President which the sitting Attorney General tells you is legal. Are you safe? No. Being a lawyer means never having to say you are sorry. One lawyer says one thing, another says another. There is no safe harbor but inaction and that is exactly what is going to be the result of this witch hunt, inaction. The servants of our country will lawyer up and hunker down, do nothing. Letting Americans die because information that was not divulged by terrorists in our custody can most cost you your job, but doing what you are ordered to do to get that information to save American lives can cost you your freedom and your family their future.

it is also very odd that a special prosecutor is an odd move. The reason we have special prosecutor is to protect against self-interested protection of your political friends. The AG is a Democrat. The abuses were supposedly committed by CIA agents and political appointees under a Republican administration. There is no reason he would have a conflict of interest. He only wants to avoid responsibility.

And the lawyerocracy has no responsibility. they win either way. The damage done by their crusade will never be charged to their account. If other countries do not cooperate with us, if our agents lawyer up and weasel out, avoid taking any risks in pursuing terrorists, there is nothing that will ever harm a lawyer in any of that. If Americans, let alone Afghans, die because of what was not done it will never be charged to a lawyer or a judge. Indeed, they will probably be put in charge of the investigations of the "failings" of the operators.

Power line excerpts some interesting parts of the report that document the attacks that were prevented by the interrogation techniques. Some dismiss the information because it did not lead to many convictions. But it did lead to the discovery of many agents of Al Qaeda that were not otherwise known. They found a lot of Al Qaeda in the US.

The report, from the AG's office, concludes:

"This Review did not uncover any evidence that these plots were imminent. Agency senior managers believe that lives have been saved as a result of the capture and interrogation of terrorists who were planning attacks, in particular Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah, Hambali, and Al-Nashiri."

If future attacks were thwarted by threatening with a gun, a drill, a mock execution and water boarding, fine with me. How many lives do would it be worth to you to keep the likes of KSM--the admitted and proud planner or the 9/11 attacks--free from waterboarding and mock executions? Me? None.

The great drawback of judicializing these disputes is that the question shifts from what is a good idea and what is effective to what will the lawyers allow.

No comments: