Friday, November 14, 2008

Could Bush & Co. have to face the music on torture?

Obama's Plans for Probing Bush Torture

President Bush could pardon officials involved in brutal interrogations -- but he may also face a sweeping investigation under the new president.

Nov. 13, 2008 | WASHINGTON -- With growing talk in Washington that President Bush may be considering an unprecedented "blanket pardon" for people involved in his administration's brutal interrogation policies, advisors to Barack Obama are pressing ahead with plans for a nonpartisan commission to investigate alleged abuses under Bush.

The Obama plan, first revealed by Salon in August, would emphasize fact-finding investigation over prosecution. It is gaining currency in Washington as Obama advisors begin to coordinate with Democrats in Congress on the proposal. The plan would not rule out future prosecutions, but would delay a decision on that matter until all essential facts can be unearthed. Between the time necessary for the investigative process and the daunting array of policy problems Obama will face upon taking office, any decision on prosecutions probably would not come until a second Obama presidential term, should there be one.

The proposed commission -- similar in thrust to a Democratic investigation proposal first uncovered by Salon in July -- would examine a broad scope of activities, including detention, torture and extraordinary rendition, the practice of snatching suspected terrorists off the street and whisking them off to a third country for abusive interrogations. The commission might also pry into the claims by the White House -- widely rejected by experienced interrogators -- that abusive interrogations are an effective and necessary intelligence tool..

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