Rep. Jerry Nadler told HuffPo that Bybee, the torture memo author now serving as a federal judge, should be impeached.
"He ought to be impeached," Nadler said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "It was not an honest legal memo. It was an instruction manual on how to break the law."
Nadler is meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday to argue that the release of the torture memos further buttresses a call he had made earlier for a special prosecutor on torture.
"Any special prosecutor on torture would have to look at the authors of those torture memos," said Nadler. "And certainly you have real grounds to impeach him once the special prosecutor took a good look at that. I think there ought to be an impeachment inquiry looked at in any event. Which should happen first, I'm not sure."
Nadler dismissed Obama's call to look forward rather than backward, arguing that the United States is obligated to investigate whether crimes were committed. "This whole call of looking forward rather than backwards -- you can't say that. The fact is, if crimes were committed, we are duty-bound under our law, we must -- the United States must investigate torture if it happened in America. That's the law. And the fact is, the law specifically says that instructions from higher officials is not an excuse. And we are obligated to investigate and, if indicated, to prosecute. The failure to at least investigate would be a violation of law," he said.
After Marcy's scoop that KSM was waterboarded 183 times, and Zubaydah 83 times, we're likely to see even more calls for investigations and prosecutions.
And, despite Rahm Emanuel's insistence that President Obama is opposed to torture prosecutions, it turns out that the decision isn't up to President Obama, or Rahm Emanuel. The decision is up to what is supposed to be the independent Department of Justice. And if Isikoff and Thomas are correct (h/t digby) are correct, Holder might just be making his own decisions here:
Though administration officials declared that CIA interrogators who followed Justice's legal guidance on torture would not be prosecuted, that does not mean the inquiries are over. Senior Justice Department lawyers and other advisers, who declined to be identified discussing a sensitive subject, say Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is seriously considering appointing an outside counsel to investigate whether CIA interrogators exceeded legal boundaries—and whether Bush administration officials broke the law by giving the CIA permission to torture in the first place.
We can weigh in on both issues: impeaching Bybee and calling for a Special Prosecutor.
As Vyan diaries today, the U.S. has a legal obligation to investigate and prosecute. But beyond that legal--and moral--obligation, it will be difficult for the Obama administration to argue on the world stage as President Obama did in his inaugural address, that "the rule of law and the rights of man" will not be given up for "expedience's sake."
Update: Isikoff was on the Rachel Maddow Show tonight, and drew an important parallel that hadn't occurred to me between the Harman/Gonzales story and this one. Gonzales used the DOJ as a political arm of the administration, and his scuttling of the Harman investigation was for purely political reasons.
The White House cannot and should not put Eric Holder in a similar position by asking the Justice Department to ignore illegal activities by the previous administration in order to "look forward" and make the politics of working on the economy, health care, etc. easier. There must be a bright line between the independent activities of the Department of Justice in investigating and prosecuting criminality and the White House.