Monday, February 1, 2010

Poor Judgement

Well, disappointing, if not surprising.

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.
It's easy to forget when you like your President, hard to ignore when you don't. But across the board, party to party, majority to majority, we will regret allowing the "We'll make it legal" precedent Bush set -- and the Obama DOJ is upholding/defending -- to stand.

The incremental differences -- and admittedly higher integrity -- of this DOJ to the last are important, and shouldn't be ignored, but the trend toward absolution of the executive office has only slowed, not stopped.

No comments:

Post a Comment