Destroying The Furniture: This Week's Roundtable Gagglers Gag On The Possiblity Of Torture Hearings

[media id=8989] (h/t Heather) The Villagers were up in arms Sunday morning over on the set of ABC's This Week about the possibility that Eric Holder

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(h/t Heather)

The Villagers were up in arms Sunday morning over on the set of ABC's This Week about the possibility that Eric Holder might appoint a special someone to look into the Bush/Cheney torture practices. Watch in awe and see how the Villagers feel about trying to get accountability from the Bush years.

Why, an investigation would just trash the place. Oh, the bitterness in D.C. would be too much to handle, all because those other people (that is, non-Villagers) would like to get to the truth.

Bob Woodward, who's trying to be the next David Broder by living off his long-degraded rep as the man who uncovered Watergate, wonders how we will ever be able to keep secrets again if there is some inspection. Um, isn't that what the Bob Woodwardses are supposed to do? Uncover stuff? Nope, not anymore. He's appalled that there might be a frakking investigation.

And he was all a-giggle with the thought that the CIA could actually lie. What a joke. I didn't hear him open his mouth when Newt Gingrich went all whiggy on Nancy Pelosi.

Cokie goes "Cokie" on us for a while and then after much trepidation comes down on the rule of law. Good for her, but she better take some R&R if it happens.

ROBERTS: I must say, I have very mixed minds about this. Because on the one hand, the whole idea of a prosecution gets Washington into that kind of horrible slog where everybody hates each other and the poison just gets very thick.

DONALDSON: Unlike at the moment, right?

ROBERTS: Well, no, it hasn’t been as bad lately as it was in the last 16 years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it seems like they’re trying to avoid at least in the design of this, criminalizing of policy.

ROBERTS: And just the whole atmosphere of getting that way again. On the other hand, the rule of law is terribly important. And we have to have it -- you know, we cannot operate in this country without the rule of law.

DONALDSON: So which hand do you come down on?

ROBERTS: I’d probably come down on the rule of law.

Digby writes much more:

Stephanopoulos reported on This Week that the possible Holder investigation is going to be very narrow and will not pursue policy makers or anyone who took orders directly from the policymakers. He's going after "rogue interrogators" who inflicted more torture than was strictly allowed.

The Village roundtable all gasped in horror anyway because who knows where such an investigation might lead and as Cokie complained, it would mean that the whole town would be mad at each other again and nobody wants that! "Everybody hates each other and the poison gets very thick." She did finally come down on the side of following the rule of law even though it would make her uncomfortable at cocktail parties, but it was a close thing.

Bob Woodward was very upset at the idea that the government can't keep secrets because "we need them!" Besides, Holder shouldn't be like Janet Reno and just initiate investigations willy nilly. (He seems to think that Reno authorizing independent counsels to investigate her own president for trivial political reasons is the same thing as investigating whether the previous administration tortured prisoners.) They all chuckled at the notion that Holder was really independent and if he is, that means he's a rogue interrogator himself.

George Will thought it was all just a bunch of balderdash because nothing bad ever happened during the Bush administration. Sam Donaldson said that reporters should probably pursue stories and Donna Brazile added that these things were coming out anyway so they might as well be investigated.

They all snorted and giggled and laughed throughout the whole segment about how silly it was to be upset that the CIA lied because well, that's what it does. And they all thought it was a ripping good joke that Cheney kept everything secret because well, everyone knows that's what he does. Hahahahaha.

Full transcript below the fold.

STEPHANOPOULOS: George, let me bring you in on these investigations. This headline this morning in “The New York Times” about Vice President Cheney ordering the CIA not to tell Congress about the secret program begun in 2001. We don’t really know what the program was, some kind of a counterterrorism program but we know it never got it off the ground.

WILL: Here’s what Bob Woodward’s “Washington Post” says about the program. It quotes a former senior intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity says “the program remains hardly secretive.” He said “the program remained in the planning stages and never crossed the agency’s threshold for reporting to the administration and congressional overseers.”

But furthermore, the law, to which Cokie referred, 1947, establishing the CIA says indeed Congress must be kept informed unless -- and there’s a huge asterisk. It says unless, “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources.”

WOODWARD: I can’t tell you how shocked I am, the idea that the CIA would withhold disclosing something.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On direct orders of the vice president?

WOODWARD: Well, it had to be on the authority of Bush. I mean, the vice president, powerful as he was, was not the president. And they would not do it unless Bush backed them up on this. The question here is, how do you keep secrets? You know, if you look at the news, this, and Eric Holder is going to have an investigation of interrogations now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A very narrow prosecution in the investigation.

WOODWARD: Well, still, you know, so much of what we are talking about and living through now is the overhang from 9/11. It just doesn’t go away.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The irony here, Sam, is that President Obama is threatening to veto the intelligence authorization bill because the Democrats in the House want to expand the number of people who are briefed. And the president is saying, nope, I don’t want to go down that road.

DONALDSON: Once again, candidate Obama has met President Obama and has discovered maybe he needs to do different things. I think the key here is the words “planning.” What does planning mean? A bunch of people sitting around, blue skies, let’s have this study. You’re right, I guess under the law, that doesn’t need to be reported.

But was there ever any execution? Let’s have a pilot program in the field and try this. On real people. Needs to be reported. And if they didn’t do that, they need to be brought to task. They need to be brought to justice.

ROBERTS: What’s so interesting is that it was people in the CIA who apparently brought this to the attention of the CIA director, Leon Panetta, because obviously, they wanted that out of there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: From the minute he heard about it, he shut it down.

ROBERTS: And went to Congress.

BRAZILE: So why don’t we just put it all out on the table? There’s already investigations. Many of them will be revealed this summer. So there’s no reason why the attorney general should not have a special prosecutor.

DONALDSON: The president doesn’t want to do that.

BRAZILE: Well, you know, the attorney general is a little bit independent of the president.

WOODWARD: After all those independent counsels that Janet Reno when she was attorney general appointed and Clinton would go purple each time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there has been some tension there between the attorney general and the White House. But based on my reporting overnight, George, the way this has been described, one, no final decision is made yet. Number two, it’s not going to be a broad investigation. Not going to be an investigation of policymakers like Secretary Rumsfeld or Vice President Cheney. Not going to be an investigation of anyone who followed the instructions they were given. This is designed to go after rogue interrogators who just weren’t following the guidance they were given.

ROBERTS: How do you even find those people?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The CIA inspector general report has already got a lot of the specific charges.

WILL: beyond that, is this going to be independent counsel? Because independent counsels have to be independent. Look at the example of Ken Starr. Ken Starr did not want to go all the places he went, but he was drawn by the logic of his unfolding investigation. And if they think they can control the parameters of this, they are very much mistaken.

WOODWARD: Whether it’s an independent counsel or whether it’s just a prosecutor within the -- there’s a momentum that gets going and these things tend to unravel.

DONALDSON: You’re shocked that the CIA keeps secrets. I’m shocked that Vice President Cheney would, you know, give orders, if in fact, he did. It’s unlikely.

ROBERTS: I must say, I have very mixed minds about this. Because on the one hand, the whole idea of a prosecution gets Washington into that kind of horrible slog where everybody hates each other and the poison just gets very thick.

DONALDSON: Unlike at the moment, right?

ROBERTS: Well, no, it hasn’t been as bad lately as it was in the last 16 years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it seems like they’re trying to avoid at least in the design of this, criminalizing of policy.

ROBERTS: And just the whole atmosphere of getting that way again. On the other hand, the rule of law is terribly important. And we have to have it -- you know, we cannot operate in this country without the rule of law.

DONALDSON: So which hand do you come down on?

ROBERTS: I’d probably come down on the rule of law.

WOODWARD: OK. And that’s where Panetta landed by going to the Congress and saying, look, this was not disclosed. The element in this that’s very important is he stopped it. He said we’re not going further. I don’t think it was particularly sinister. I also think, you’re exactly right, Sam, that candidate Obama has met President Obama and he says I don’t want wide disclosure of our secrets because we need them.

WILL: and here’s why. When someone went to Panetta in the CIA and told him about this and Panetta went to the Congressional Committee, what then happened? It leaked.

WOODWARD: Actually, they wrote letters publicly and the letters circulated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Part of the reason they wrote those letters was in defense of the speaker, Nancy Pelosi who had said --

DONALDSON: Do you know what the program we’re talking about? I don’t.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not what the problem is, but they had said they had been misled and the speaker has said the CIA has lied to us on many occasions. I think she said they lie all the time. So this is a measure of vindication, I suppose, for the speaker, even though she doesn’t want to claim it.

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