News Columns & Blogs

Hard for Holder not to investigate torture, abuse

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility reportedly is recommending that the department open investigations of CIA abuse and torture of terrorism suspects. President Obama already has said that he doesn't want to focus on the past, but it will be difficult for Attorney General Eric Holder to overlook violations of U.S. law and the recommendation of the department's ethics office, which has spent several years reviewing the cases. That said, Jeffrey Smith, a former general counsel for the CIA, makes some good arguments for why the investigations might do more harm than good, including that the techniques reportedly were authorized by President Bush and approved by the Justice Department (albeit using shoddy legal reasoning).