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Obama Ruling Shields Torturers--What Horrors From the CIA Can We Expect Next?

Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to prosecute CIA torturers in two high-profile homicides bows to the political difficulty of going after field agents while sparing superiors.

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But Tenet and his White House masters concluded, correctly, that given the mood of the times and the lack of spine among lawmakers, congressional “overseers” would bend into their post-9/11 role of serving as congressional “overlookers.”

That left only the federal prosecutors to worry about. With Holder’s announcement last week, any lingering fear that Obama or Holder might summon the courage to prosecute CIA officials, operating within those “authorities” or beyond them, has now evaporated.

Back at CIA

What effect, I wonder, will the exoneration of all those “dark-side” CIA officials have on the agency’s efforts to recruit new employees? What kinds of recruits are likely to be attracted at the prospect of engaging in this kind of work with “no worries?” And what will it be like eating in the CIA cafeteria, wondering whether the folks at the next table have had blood on their hands.

What kind of chilling effect will Holder’s announcement have on CIA and military employees with a conscience, who might consider blowing the whistle, in the hope that the crimes be stopped and the perpetrators held to account?

Now, not only will they be acutely aware that by sticking their necks out they will risk their own livelihoods and more, but they would also have to reckon with the likelihood that the crimes they might try to expose would be covered up and their perpetrators protected.

Bottom line? Nothing will be done about it anyway, so why take any risk at all? That is the message intelligence officials are likely to take from the announcement of our chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Holder, that no one is to be prosecuted for grievous crimes of state.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
 
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