Why CIA Interrogators Unlikely to Be Prosecuted For Torture

Decision to prosecute CIA goes to Department of Justice.

ByABC News
December 9, 2014, 5:11 PM

— -- Despite the release of a Senate report detailing the extensive use of enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA after 9/11, it remains highly unlikely that American interrogators who allegedly went beyond legal limits of the permitted methods will be prosecuted.

The White House today deflected any questions about who, if anyone, should be held accountable, saying those decisions are up to the Department of Justice.

“Questions about the legality or about the decision to prosecute are made entirely at the DOJ, as it should be,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.

As a senior administration official explained, “It's not our place to insert ourselves in that process.”

The Justice Department has already conducted a three-year review of the interrogation program and decided not to bring any criminal charges.

In August 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder explained in part that “the department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”

President Obama, who banned torture shortly after taking office, has pledged not to prosecute those who carried out the enhanced interrogation techniques, saying “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

“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 president said in April 2009. “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.”