Obama administration shields CIA torturers
In response to a public campaign by the CIA, the Obama administration has decided to further scale back an already narrow investigation of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture during the Bush years that was announced last month by Attorney General Eric Holder.
In announcing the probe, Holder had made clear that it would be limited to CIA agents whose torture of alleged terrorists went beyond the bounds laid down by Bush administration directives. It would target neither the Justice Department lawyers who drew up findings providing a pseudo-legal justification for waterboarding, hanging prisoners from walls, placing them in boxes for hours on end, and similar crimes, nor the top Bush administration officials who ordered and oversaw such practices.
The CIA—including the current director and Obama appointee, Leon Panetta—and former Bush administration officials, led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, have denounced Holder’s token probe, claiming that it will hamstring US intelligence operations and give aid and comfort to the terrorists.
On Friday, seven former CIA directors sent a letter to President Obama demanding that he quash the Holder inquiry. Signing the letter were directors under both Democratic and Republican administrations: Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, John Deutch, R. James Woolsey, William Webster and James R. Schlesinger.