Huckabee falsely claimed Obama "toying with ... criminal prosecutions" for CIA interrogators

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER & MORGAN WEILAND

Mike Huckabee falsely claimed President Obama is "toying with the ridiculous notion of allowing criminal prosecutions" of CIA officials "for carrying out orders to combat terrorism." In fact, the Obama administration has repeatedly said it would not prosecute CIA interrogators who followed Justice Department guidelines.

On the April 25 edition of his Fox News program, Mike Huckabee falsely claimed that President Obama is "toying with the ridiculous notion of allowing criminal prosecutions" of CIA officials "for carrying out orders to combat terrorism." In fact, the Obama administration has repeatedly said it would not prosecute CIA officials who, in Obama's words, "carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice."

From Obama's April 16 statement, in which he announced the release of four memos from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that had authorized harsh interrogation methods:

OBAMA: In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution. The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world. Their accomplishments are unsung and their names unknown, but because of their sacrifices, every single American is safer. We must protect their identities as vigilantly as they protect our security, and we must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs [emphasis added].

Similarly, in an April 16 press release, the Justice Department said that in releasing the OLC memos, Attorney General Eric Holder "stressed that intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct." The release continued:

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 [emphasis added].

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated Obama and Holder's argument in press briefings on April 20 and April 21. From the April 20 press briefing:

GIBBS: The President took the extraordinary step of stopping these techniques from ever being used -- again, as part of his administration. The President does believe and the Attorney General said quite clearly that those that believed in good faith that these techniques had been declared legal by the Department of Justice should not be prosecuted [emphasis added].

From the April 21 press briefing:

GIBBS: I do think it's important to make a distinguishing -- to distinguish exactly what the President said last week. The President believes and was assured by the Justice Department that those that have acted in good faith on what they believed was legal won't be prosecuted. The President still believes that [emphasis added].

From the April 25 edition of Fox News' Huckabee:

HUCKABEE: This week has made me believe more than ever that the appropriate adjective to describe the president's policies aren't necessarily strong and decisive, but wrong and divisive. The spending orgies have been disturbing enough -- add to that a level of government intervention and control of business, and we're starting to look like Europe.

But the president's turning loose detailed intelligence documents and then toying with the ridiculous notion of allowing criminal prosecutions for CIA and Bush administration officials for carrying out orders to combat terrorism has made me realize that we may have elected Barack Obama to sing on the stage, but the phantom of the opera might just be George Soros, the angry billionaire who has more money than he does decency and fronts an organization called MoveOn.org, which maybe ought to be renamed turnback.ugh, since he seems to be obsessed with the other George, as in Bush, who isn't even president anymore.

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Interrogation
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Mike Huckabee
Show/Publication
Huckabee
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