Shortly after he authorized the partial release of Department of Justice (DOJ) legal memos related to CIA interrogation procedures against terrorist suspects overseas, President Obama went to CIA Headquarters and "assured" the Agency's assembled rank and file that no CIA officers would face investigation or prosecution for conducting interrogations while following DOJ legal advice and policy. The President's words did not necessarily assuage the fears of many of those line CIA officers, since, reportedly, many are retaining legal counsel to defend their personal and professional interest.
Now it seems those fears may be well founded. Attorney General Eric Holder has recently stated, "No one is above the law" and, "We're going to follow the evidence wherever it takes us, follow the law wherever that takes us" related to the CIA terrorist interrogation matter. In view of the President's speech at Langley, it might seem that (prosecutorial) discretion might be the better part of valor for the Attorney General. Notwithstanding the President's assurances, it appears the high command of DOJ has left open the real possibility of launching a criminal probe of terrorist interrogations.
Holder and, apparently, the White House posture that if CIA officials engaged in the interrogations somehow went beyond the scope of what was "authorized" in those DOJ legal memos, they may have violated the law and committed what Holder believes is torture. There are very significant legal and moral "what's right" issues that mitigate against any such investigations.
Andrew McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York who successfully prosecuted Omar Abdel-Rahman (the "Blind Sheik"), Ramzi Yousef and a number of other Islamic terrorists in the 1990s, is now a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. On August 11, McCarthy authored an Op-ed article in the National Review Online that details why any criminal investigation of CIA interrogators is wrong. Read McCarthy's article here.