Thursday, March 5, 2009
Senator Arlen Specter is open to criminally prosecuting John Yoo and the other lawyers at the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for writing the memos justifying unconstitutional action:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said he was opposed to any Truth Commission tasked with investigating Bush administration abuses, but that he could support criminal investigations into political appointees who authored the controversial OLC memos.
“I would not mind looking backward if there’s reason to do so. If we have evidence of torture – go after it. If there’s reason to believe that these Justice Department officials have knowingly given the president cover for practices they know not to be right or sound – go after them. Some of the [OLC] opinions are more than startling, they’re shocking. If [OLC counsel] did that knowingly…it sounds to me that it may fall within criminal conduct.
Specter said he supported the Justice Department pursuing an investigation into the writing of the memos.
Of course, Yoo and the other devil's advocates at the OLC did commit illegal acts which warrant prosecution. Indeed, they are war crimes under U.S. and international law. See this, this, this, and this.
But as any lawyer will tell you, it is the client which decides what to do, and then the lawyer simply tries to find a way to justify it. In most cases, the lawyers aren't the decision-makers, simply the lapdogs serving power. Clearly, Bush and Cheney decided on what they were going to do first, and then asked the OLC to provide cover for it.
Why just go after the devil's advocate, and not the devils themselves?