Sunday, December 21, 2008

Biden on Prosecutions

From Dec 21st ABC News "This Week":

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Senate Armed Services Committee last week had a unanimous report that said that the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, at prisons around the world is a direct and indirect result of decisions made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials. Should they be prosecuted for that?
BIDEN: First of all, that's a judgment, remember, four years ago on your program I made, so I haven't changed my mind. And this confirms.
But the questions of whether or not a criminal act has been committed or a very, very, very bad judgment has been engaged in is -- is something the Justice Department decides.
Barack Obama and I are -- President-elect Obama and I are not sitting thinking about the past. We're focusing on the future. Obviously, that if the Justice...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But should the cases be reviewed?
BIDEN: Well, that's a decision I'd look to the Justice Department to make.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're not ruling it out at this point?
BIDEN: I'm not ruling it in and not ruling it out. I just think we should look forward. I think we should be looking forward, not backwards.

I guess it's off to find out what Eric Holder thinks...since of course the President and Vice President have no involvement, none whatsoever, with the Justice Department... (sarcasm)

Update: Contrast the language Michael Ratner uses in this article from The Nation:

"Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights says that one of Barack Obama's first acts as president should be to 'instruct his attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor to initiate a criminal investigation of former Bush Administration officials who gave the green light to torture.'"

Biden has left the door open on this one. But it's curious that he used language that made it sound like the Obama administration will have nothing to do with what the Justice Department decides.

Update: I expanded upon this quote in a diary at Talkleft.

1 comment:

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