Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama Administration Too Busy to Prosecute Crimes Committed in the Past

Barack Obama speaks at the CIA. Photo by AP

According to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the Obama Administration is too busy to bother with prosecuting crimes that occurred in the past. Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Emanuel said:

“It is not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back, and in a sense of anger and retribution. We have a lot to do to protect America.”

Someone should explain to the Obama Administration that we always prosecute crimes after the fact. Listening to Emanuel, you’d get the notion that if you rob a bank on Tuesday and can avoid arrest until Wednesday, you’ll be allowed to go free.

Never mind.

Here’s the report by Burns and Gerstein at Politico:

After days of public debate over his release of the so-called “torture memos,” President Barack Obama on Monday sought to reassure CIA employees that he understood the anxiety some felt over his ban on certain harsh interrogation techniques.

Obama also stressed that he is committed to protecting national security secrets — but said the release of the secret documents prepared by the Bush Justice Department was “the result of a pending court case” that left his administration with little room to maneuver.

“I understand that it’s hard when you are asked to protect the American people against people who have no scruples and would willingly and gladly kill innocents. Al-Qaida’s not constrained by a constitution,” Obama said in his first visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

Obama said he was aware critics were denouncing him as na├»ve for publishing the legal memos describing interrogation techniques. “I understand that. I watch the cable shows once in a while,” he said. “What makes the United States special and what makes you special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and ideals even when it’s hard. So, you’ve got a harder job, and so do I and that’s OK….Over the long term, that’s why I believe we will defeat our enemies: because we’re on the better side of history.”

Obama’s speech came amid mounting criticism from both the left and the right over the White House’s decision to release the memos prepared by the Bush Justice Department, while simultaneously ruling out the possibility of prosecuting officials implicated in torture.

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