"For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it’s appropriate for them to be prosecuted," President Obama said today. "With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws, and I don’t want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there."
The White House also suggested, for the first time, that any public investigation of interrogation policy should be like the 9/11 Commission.
"There needs to be a further accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break it entirely along party lines, to the extent that there are independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility, that would probably be a more sensible approach to take," Obama added.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs added that the president would see the 9/11 Commission as a model of how an investigation into the torture memo matter should take place.
"I think the president said that he is fearful that … this could become overly politicized," Gibbs said. "And I think that the president would see a 9/11 Commission as a … in all honesty, a model for how any investigation or commission might be set up because I think we can all understand that the 9/11 Commission was comprised of very respected members that, despite being Democrats or Republicans, put their party identification away in order to answer some very serious questions."
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