Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Who you gonna call?

In April 2009, when a “crusading” Spanish judge threatened to investigate and indict former Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales and five other Bush administration lawyers for authorizing torture, the Obama administration acted vigorously: It sent Florida Sen. Mel Martinez (now Florida chairman of JP Morgan Chase) to Madrid to warn the Spanish that such an investigation would “chill” U.S.-Spanish relations.

Former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)

Former senator and ‘Probebuster’ Mel Martinez wouldn’t comment on this story.
[ Image Source ]

Unfortunately, the good senator met with a rebuff. Spain, it seems, practices an esoteric political principle called “separation of powers” and therefore declined to lean on the judiciary. Currently, the case remains pending in Spain until the Obama administration signals whether it intends to pursue a probe of its own, which would pre-empt the Spanish inquiry.

If, however, the three WikiLeaks-released diplomatic cables that broke this story are any guide, it would not be wise to rely on the U.S. to do anything about Gonzales and colleagues other than continue to stonewall. The U.S. government will sustain some damage to its reputation by doing this, but it is inferable that it regards the potential discredit incurred by permitting an inquiry as still more dangerous: Better that we should suspect its criminality than that we see proof of it in a Spanish court.

Originally published as a review of a Miami Herald article on the Obama administration's attempt — disclosed by WikiLeaks — to forestall a probe of authorization of torture
by the previous administration.

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