Over the weekend, President-Elect Obama said we should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” on the question of prosecuting Bush administration officials for torture, illegal wiretapping, and other possible crimes committed in the name of national security.
But yesterday, the House Judiciary committee got behind a very different approach, releasing a nearly 500-page report that recommends establishing a blue-ribbon commission — along the lines of the 9/11 commission, but with subpoena power — to investigate whether crimes were committed. (Last week, as we reported over at Election Central, Judiciary chair John Conyers and nine other lawmakers introduced a bill to set up such a commission.)
The report also advocates an investigation by the Justice Department, potentially involving a special prosecutor. And in addition to focusing on issues of torture, wiretapping, and the like, the report also recommends continuing to probe matters like the leaking of the name of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, and the US Attorney firings.
It’ll be interesting to see how Democrats will reconcile Conyers’ aggressive stance, which seems to enjoy broad support among the party’s base, with Obama’s more cautious approach.