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A Commission on Enhanced Interrogation? Obama Rebuffs Idea

By Shailagh Murray
President Obama rebuffed calls for a commission to investigate alleged abuses under the Bush administration in fighting terrorism, telling congressional leaders at a White House meeting today that he wanted to look forward instead of relitigating the past.

In a lengthy exchange with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Obama appeared to back away from a statement earlier this week that suggested he could support an independent commission to examine possible abuses. Liberal groups and some key lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (Vt.), have deemed such an entity necessary in the quest to understand and potentially prosecute violations.

On Tuesday, Obama raised the prospect of legal consequences for Bush administration officials who authorized harsh interrogation techniques applied to "high value" terrorism suspects, and said if Congress is intent on investigating the tactics, an independent commission might provide a less partisan forum than a congressional panel.

The statement set off a firestorm. Republicans and moderate Democrats recoiled from the idea, while liberal lawmakers applauded Obama's newly aggressive stance. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sought to clarify the president's views this afternoon, telling reporters at the daily White House briefing that "the president determined the concept didn't seem altogether workable in this case."

Gibbs added, "The last few days might be evidence of why something like this might just become a political back and forth."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also pushed back from the idea on Thursday, telling reporters before he left for the White House meeting that the Senate Intelligence Committee would conduct its own review of the procedures, a process that could stretch six to eight months. But Pelosi reiterated her call for a "truth commission" at the White House meeting, one participant in the session recounted.

At the White House, Boehner also urged Obama to release further classified memos detailing the questionable interrogation techniques. Former vice president Richard Cheney has argued that the memos will make clear that aggressive tactics had yielded valuable intelligence information that could prevent further terrorist attacks.

Obama responded that Cheney had done "a good job at telling his side of the story," according to one individual who was present at the meeting. "Obama said the memos weren't as clear cut," the individual recounted.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 23, 2009; 5:47 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , National Security  
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The "President" can still pardon any CIA agent that the "Attorney General" seeks to prosecute.

Posted by: JakeD | April 24, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse


I don't "hate" America, nor do I support torturers and terrorists. I am also registered Independent, not Republican. 0 for 3.

Posted by: JakeD | April 24, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

well, how much power does the President have in/on this issue?

could be like the Queen..
can only advise.

heaven help ya if you go the other way, no?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 24, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

our president is not dumb

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 24, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

When Michael Connell's plane crashed, Rove's chance of staying out of jail got better. Hmmmm?

Posted by: rooster54 | April 24, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove" highlights only a very small number of many cases across the country where tactics used by the DoJ are questionable, if not illegal.

It is necessary to examine not only the methods...but the motives.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | April 24, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

nodebris -

Well done. You hit an important point.

The president says a commission is not workable but the wheels are already in motion and pressure is building.

This might be a "make me" issue for the Congress and the President. If public demand forces it into Congressional hearings then we'll see what we see.

In any event GOP leaders must stop embracing a policy that most people find un-American. This is not an issue where they can stand pat. If it moves forward they must join the investigation and determine if laws were broken - or die trying to destroy their opponents.

For that reason I agree with you - this could be a fatal blow to the GOP. But the cost will be high.

Time to tread lightly and be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | April 24, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama is quite right to be cautious. The permanent destruction of one of the two major parties is not a cause for gleeful celebration. It will cast our politics into disarray for a generation, right when we most need a directed national consensus.

The Republican Party's reputation is teetering on the edge of utter oblivion, and the irony is that only a Democrat stands between it and the destruction it deserves. His prudence must compensate for the utter lack of prudence that led Republicans to this fatal precipice.

And yet Republicans, still clinging to the modes and methods of the previous decade, think their best strategy is to attack him. Folly on top of folly.

It will be interesting to see what sort of beast arises from the GOP's smoking ruins.

Posted by: nodebris | April 24, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

TO: WHITE HOUSE STAFF (ATTN: Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Jay Carney); ATTY. GEN. ERIC HOLDER (staff, please forward)




President Obama does not yet seem to be cognizant of a frightening reality -- that the Bush "torture memos" were used to justify an array of "programs of personal destruction" that REMAIN IN PLACE ON HIS WATCH.

Obama must come to realize that federal agencies and commands have enabled the ONGOING covert microwave radiation weapons torture and physical degradation of U.S. citizens deemed undesirables, mental defectives and dissidents... well as the nationwide GPS-enabled "community gang stalking" of U.S. citizens, who are hunted down like prey by citizen vigilante goons as "target" vehicles and implanted GPS devices enter the "crown of evil" GPS screen grid of the gang-stalkers.

It appears that Obama and most centrists/liberals/progressives have yet to realize that the "war on terror" appears to have been a premeditated pretext for an American genocide/politicide -- a horrific silent holocaust that has destroyed, and continues to destroy, untold thousands, if not millions, of American families and no doubt has contributed to economic tumult.

What has been happened since the dawning of the Bush administration has turned a just society into the "US of KKK-A" (now, who said that?), as harsh and impolitic as that sounds.

And the 21st century version of the Klan -- an American Gestapo -- remains on the march -- hiding behind covert federal "programs of personal financial destruction" and federally-funded community policing and town watch programs co-sponsored by local law enforcement nationwide. And you thought the "permanent Republican majority" putsch was dead? It just took up residence in town halls and police and fire departments across the nation.

President Obama must act immediately to restore American civil and human rights -- because each day he delays, the forces running these programs, the forces who will resist whatever "change" his presidency offers, are one day closer to making it impossible him to fulfill the "hope" he still embodies.

For more on "Gestapo USA" and why team Obama must move immediately to dismantle the Bush-Cheney- era "extrajudicial punishment network"...

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse


The incipient coup and concomitant false flag "terrorist" op have been exposed and are being neutralized.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

But will he rebuff it tomorrow? All his statements have an expiration period.

Someone said Carter was the worse. I help elect that guy and I agree. Worse than Nixon, and that is bad.

Posted by: gsms69 | April 23, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Barry and his insane clown posse better get their heads around Pakistan and stop playing political games or you libs will have a lot more to worry about than patty cake "torture" techniques.

Posted by: DaMan2 | April 23, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Here is an argument for prosecuting United States war criminals based on the numbers.

The world's population is about 6.8 billion or 6800 million. (None of whom want to be tortured or murdered themselves or to have a higher risk of those things).

The population of the United States is around 300 million.

So the portion of the worlds population that are US citizens are 300,000,000 / 6,800,000,000 or 3/68 = 0.044 or 4.4 per cent of the total population.

Now let us suppose that the US population consists of 3 groups.

1/3rd who think its good for the US to torture and murder in the national interest,
1/3rd who thinks that it is bad the US to torture and murder in the national interest,
And 1/3rd who just want everyone in the US to get along and don’t want the United States divided so they prefer to pardon US tortures and murders and just move on.

If two thirds of the United States prefers that the United States pardon its own torturers and murderers of foreigners rather than prosecute them then two thirds of the United States would still only represent 2/3rds of 4.4 percent of the total population or 2.9 percent of the total population of the world.

If Barrack Obama or any other United States politician says let us move on, looking forward not backward, he is appealing to the wishes of only 2.9 percent of humankind.
Over 97 percent of humankind, obviously, prefer not to have to live in a world where the United States can torture and murder them simply because the people of the United States are mainly ok with that.

Over 97 percent of humankind does not want to live in a world where torture and aggressive invasion occasioning murder are the prerogatives of the United States. It is manifestly, overwhelmingly NOT in the best interests of the vast majority of humankind for the United States to become an island of lawlessness from which torturers and murderers can move against us.

The people of the United States need to understand that the people of the world don't want a higher risk of being tortured and murdered. They don't want an exception to the rule of law for the United States.

If it comes right down to it and we have to live in a world in which the rule of law doesn't apply to everyone then many of the people of the world will prefer to see the people of the United States punished for the wrongs they do to the rest of the world more than they want to see the people of the United States forgiven.

In a fight between little terrorist A and big terrorist B the impartial observers that want a safer world and a rule of law will prefer that little terrorist A does as much damage as possible to big terrorist B.

Posted by: BrettPaatsch1 | April 23, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The President is right to try to keep this from spinning out of control. He made a mistake opening the door to a witch hunt. He's already banned the procedures, what good would a national act of self-immolation accomplish?

Posted by: RealChoices | April 23, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Cheney can't even acknowledge the existence of memos all throughout his tenure as VP. He gets out and the heat gets a bit uncomfortable and next thing you know we have memos and he wants to declassify them to serve a political purpose. What happened to national security and deny everything???

Seems like the only security he's worried about is his own. Shouldn't have spent his first few weeks of the year bad mouthing Obama, now those memos will never see the light of day :) hahahahah

This guy should be the next Bond villain.

Posted by: theobserver4 | April 23, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

No commission- it would be a waste of time, since Republicans long ago proved that they have no respect for the truth. what good did the 9/11 Commission do? NONE.

There is only one thing to do with Bush, Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, Rove, Rice, Hadley, and all the rest:


Posted by: losthorizon10 | April 23, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

After all, TORTURE is needed to protect you from--WHATEVER!
IT's the friggin PROTECTION RACKET folks.
Pay up or you'll get your store torched!!

Posted by: mudbone | April 23, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

What is needed here is a supoena for George Wako Bush and Dick Sick Cheney!
Let's start at the top this time!!

Posted by: mudbone | April 23, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

A friendly reminder...

The president doesn't hold hearings.
That would be Congress' job.

Congress will hold hearings and Obama will wait for the facts to speak for themselves because. He doesn't have to touch this issue.

And nobody can pin the partisan label on him if Congress does the job of oversight it abdicated years ago.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | April 23, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on Liar in Chief Barack Obama is
afraid that his real boss Madame Speaker
Nancy Pelosi and other key Democrats are
also going to end up behind bars,right along with Torturer in Chief George W Bush
and VP Draft Dodger Dickey Cheney etal,so
that is the only reason Obama is trying to
Obstruct Justice and Will Not Agree to
Name A Commission or Specisl Proscuetor to
Invetigate Torturegate. Impeach Obama and
Charge Obama with Obstruction of Justice
right along with Nancy Pelosi,Harry Reid,
Jane Harmon,and Jay Rockefeller,and Fire
Obama'x corrupt US Attorney General Loser
Eric Holder and Sec Of Homeland Securiy
Janet Napolitano and ship the whole bunch
of them off to Super Max Pen,along with
George W Bush,Dickey Cheney,Donald Rumsfeld
Condoleezza Rice,Alberto Gonzales and John
Ashcroft. Throw these bums out in 2010/2012

Posted by: Amy2009 | April 23, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse


You are aware that there will be NO prosecutions of CIA agents or doctors who did the actual "torture", right?

Posted by: JakeD | April 23, 2009 7:06 PM

You are aware that you are a completely irrelevant, out of power Republican dodo, and have no idea of what you are talking about, right?

Prosecution is required, according to U.S. and international law.

Why do you support Neocon-Fascist torturers and terrorists?
Why do you hate America?

Posted by: kevinschmidt | April 23, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama is right to rebuff a commission, that most likely, would be white washed any way with a recommendation not to prosecute.

Now Attorney General Eric Holder is free to start prosecuting immediately!

Torture is illegal under all circumstances. The law requires prosecution.

Those who disagree are traitors to the Constitution and leave themselves open to torture by the current or some future administration, as I pointed out at 6:13 PM.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | April 23, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

re: "100 Days" presser


Mr. President:

The Senate Armed Services Committee report on "enhanced interrogation techniques" used at Guantanamo stated at least twice that detainees were subject to "induced physical weakness and exhaustion."

The report also stated that detainees were subject to "physiological and psychological pressures" and "environmental manipulation."

Has your administration inquired as to what "induced" these effects...

...and whether detainees were exposed to microwave radiation devices such as so-called "directed energy weapon" discharges... or any other type of radiation, including X-rays, gamma rays, sonic waves, or laser "dazzlers"?

If detainees were exposed to radiation, does that not constitute "torture" and "cruel and unusual punishment" in and of itself?

OR (if links are corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh how funny the big shot Harvard Lawyer,
Liar in Chief Messiah Barack Hussein Obama
is so screwed up by him doing all that Coke
and Crack,that now,as President Obama is
Obstructing Justice By Trying To Prevent A
Full Scale Investigatio And The Appointment
Of A Special Counsel as well, so Obama can
provide CYOA for Comrade Speaker Madame
Nancy Pelosi,Jane Harman,and Diane Feinstein ROLE in Approving Waterboarding
while serving on the Intelligence Committee. And Obama therefore has also
surely committed an Imprachable Offense,as
well. Time to throw Nancy Pelosi,Jane Harman,Diane Feinstein and Harry Ried out
Congress and time to FIRE Obama's crooked
incompetent pathetic Terrorist Lover,Gun
Grabber,Rich White Collar Crooks Buddy
US Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama's
Nutcase Sec of Homeland Security Village
Idiot Incompetent Janet Napolitano as well
as Impeach Barack Hussein Obama and ship
the Obamas back to Kenya! God nobody can
mess everything up like the Democrats this
fast in under the first 100 days no less.

Posted by: Sue1980 | April 23, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

holder had better get a hold on this. hes going to let it all play out then appoint a prosecutor,wait and see .some people are going to pay for this.the american people wont let them forget.i wont. if he doesnt do something hes a one timer and hillary walks in and i promise she will get cheney, rumsfeld, and anyone elseinvolved.

Posted by: donaldtucker | April 23, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The Obama dances to the tunes called by and creepy George Soros. Will he have to guts to resist their instructions? He's already caved once.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | April 23, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama thought it was a great idea until the demand for release of the memos which prove the enhanced interrogation saved American lives. The repubs called his bluff and he has folded. I hope the repubs don't drop the issue and insist on release of the memos.

Posted by: alstl | April 23, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess we won't be seeing any prosecution after all. How funny! Pelosi has got the puppet in another tight spot!! "I didn't know they were water boarding." "I didn't read the stimulus bill before I voted." How funny! The only question for America now is whether the Demos are correct in assuming people will believe anything they say or whether the sheeple will eventually have to realize they are having the "wool" pulled over their eyes?

Posted by: quark1 | April 23, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | April 23, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse


You are aware that there will be NO prosecutions of CIA agents or doctors who did the actual "torture", right?

Posted by: JakeD | April 23, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Of course there should be an investigation and prosecution. How could there not? If Hitler's henchmen were held responsible, and so were Mao's in China -- how can the United States avoid enforcing its laws. The idea that there could not be a Commission is ridiculous.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | April 23, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse


I've been catching up on sailing and golf game. How's it been hangin?

As for where Bush is now, he is not President (I know "Thank God" you say ; )

He has said that Obama "deserves my silence."

Posted by: JakeD | April 23, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,,where have you been brother?
Really--"Bush was not a wimp. Do you recall "Bring 'em on"?--
You said that,,shame on you Jake!

Where is he now? Trying to communicate the Bush Talk to a ghost writer about "MY LEGACY"!!!

Posted by: mudbone | April 23, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Anything that involves Cheney makes my skin crawl. His credibility is zero along with his moral stance. To see him properly and lawful "processed" would Make My DAy.

Posted by: sd-mouth | April 23, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Fox News's own Shepperd Smith, on another Fox show, stating emphatically:


How much longer do you think he'll be employed at Fox?

Must see:
(about 1/2 way down the page)

Posted by: jfern03 | April 23, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

And what did he get when he said Bring it On?

4000 troops dead and no Osama Bin Laden!

What a warrior Bush was!!!

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 23, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Bush is not a wimp bc he said "Bring it On?"

I guess he said "Bring on the National Guard" when he needed to fight in Vietnam.

Oh how history will look back and laugh and cry on people who defended Bush.

History is written. He is the worst.

Posted by: tallertapas311 | April 23, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse


Bush was not a wimp. Do you recall "Bring 'em on"?

Posted by: JakeD | April 23, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

All you Conservatives and Republicans better hope Obama and Holder prosecute Dubya/dick and their minions for torture.

If they don't then what will stop the Democrats from coming after you next?

As it stand right now:
'Americans in any town of this country could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest -- if the alleged national security justification was compelling.'

That especially goes for any of you traitors who want to secede from the Union or want to violently over throw the Constitutionally elected Obama Administration.

But you say that will never happen. The U.S. Government would never torture an American citizen.

Guess what?

Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was arrested on trumped up charges, denied access to an attorney or his family for years, and tortured until he was declared legally insane by a judge! Then he was convicted in a kangaroo court.

So Conservatives and Republicans, please endorse torture and murder of prisoners.
Go ahead, make my day!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | April 23, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, as long as he's not more of Wimp then Bush I'm happy.

Posted by: Megaduck | April 23, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

LOL! I didn't think it was possible, but this guy is more of a wimp than Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: JakeD | April 23, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, didn't see this coming.

But the issue is hardly over, now, is it, and all the wishful thinking in the world can't change it...

Denial is not your friend.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | April 23, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Careful Mr. President, the law requires prosecution. To not prosecute would be an impeachable event!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | April 23, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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