Government attorneys will defend CIA officials who participated in harsh interrogations
CIA officials who participated in enhanced interrogations during the Bush administration will be defended by government attorneys should charges be brought against them.
According to a published statement from the Department of Justice:
The Attorney General has informed the Central Intelligence Agency that the government would provide legal representation to any employee, at no cost to the employee, in any state or federal judicial or administrative proceeding brought against the employee based on such conduct and would take measures to respond to any proceeding initiated against the employee in any international or foreign tribunal, including appointing counsel to act on the employee’s behalf and asserting any available immunities and other defenses in the proceeding itself.
To the extent permissible under federal law, the government will also indemnify any employee for any monetary judgment or penalty ultimately imposed against him for such conduct and will provide representation in congressional investigations.
"It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department," Holder said.
The statement is available on the Department of Justice Web site.
News of the decision came immediately before the Obama administration released slightly redacted memos detailing torture techniques approved by the Bush administration.
According to a report filed Wednesday with Public Record, a US District Court Judge has decided to allow former prisoners of Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison the right to sue their prior captors.
"The Court reasoned, 'While it is true that the events at Abu Ghraib pose an embarrassment to this country, it is the misconduct alleged and not the litigation surrounding that misconduct that creates the embarrassment. This Court finds that the only potential for embarrassment would be if the Court declined to hear these claims on political questions grounds,'" the publication reported.
"The Court found 'The policy is clear: what happened at Abu Ghraib was wrong.'"
"This is a victory for the CIA, which had been seeking a formal, public statement for its case officers, and which had been worried that the document's disclosures could subject many of them to future prosecution," wrote Marc Ambinder with the Atlantic. "Now, even if Congress launches investigations, the CIA will be, more or less, safe."
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