Bush-Era Controversies Follow Obama
By Ben Pershing
President Obama may be on vacation this week but he'll get no respite from the past. From new details of controversial interrogation tactics to the "deteriorating" situation in Afghanistan, this weekend brought fresh reminders that Obama still has a host of thorny problems left to sort through from the Bush administration.
Seven months into his presidency, Obama has yet to determine whether to prosecute alleged detainee abuses, where to move prisoners from Guantanamo Bay and how to reverse decreasing U.S. public support and increasing pressure from the enemy in the Afghanistan war. Revelations in the last few days have made none of those questions any easier to answer.
A long-awaited report from the CIA's inspector general on the agency's interrogation practices is due to be unveiled today, and the administration appears eager to get out in front of its findings. "Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects," reports the Washington Post, with the new "High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group" to be staffed by several different agencies and housed at the FBI. As for the IG report, the goriest details seem already to have been leaked, including that at least one prisoner was threatened with a gun and a power drill and that CIA interrogators staged mock executions.
At the same time, according to the New York Times, "The Justice Department's ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases," encouraging Eric Holder to consider prosecuting CIA officials. But Jeffrey Smith, the former CIA general counsel, today provides "six reasons prosecutions are not in the nation's best interests."
Posted at 8:03 AM ET on Aug 24, 2009
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