Yesterday Attorney General Eric Holder announced a preliminary investigation of terrorist interrogations during the Bush era. This is a bad move.
What does it mean? It could pave the way for criminal prosecutions of some intelligence operatives who used “enhanced interrogation techniques” in questioning captured terrorists.
Why is it a bad move? Because of the message it sends to those in the intelligence community.
- It’s a warning to them that, even if the intel they gather prevents attacks and saves American lives, should the political climate change they could be thrown under the bus. In other words, it discourages these men and women from doing what is at times necessary to get the information they need.
- It also suggests to qualified, skilled people who are considering working in intelligence that their career would be better spent elsewhere.
Why is it happening now? Because the President’s domestic agenda is in danger, and his poll numbers are falling. As is his custom, when questions are raised about his competence or performance, he is bringing up the specter of the wicked George W. Bush. Bush remains a useful whipping boy whenever Obama needs to change the subject. Mark my words, this will continue into the 2012 campaign.