White House press secretary Robert Gibbs had a hard time Tuesday explaining an apparent about-face by President Obama on whether Bush administration lawyers should be prosecuted for writing legal memos authorizing “enhanced interrogation techniques” that some consider to have been torture.
“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,” Mr. Obama said today, adding that “there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.”
This seemed to fly in the face of what the president chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said on Sunday.
“Those who devised policy, [the president] believes that they were — should not be prosecuted either,” Emanuel said (click here for the full context of this comment).
Gibbs was asked about this discrepancy repeatedly at the daily press briefing. At one point, he suggested that the press simply not pay attention to what Emanuel had said.
“Instead of referring to what anybody might have said, I think it’s important — or anything that I might have said — it’s important to refer to what the president said,” Gibbs said.
— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times