The Wall Street Journal reports today that the White House “isn’t inclined to grant sweeping pardons for former administration officials involved in harsh interrogations and detentions of terror suspects.” White House officials believe that the Justice Department’s torture memos make such pardons “unnecessary”:
Some Republicans have been pushing for President George W. Bush to grant pre-emptive clemency to officials who fear being investigated by Democratic critics. White House officials have countered that such pardons are unnecessary, these people say. The officials point to Justice Department legal opinions that supported the administration’s methods of detaining and interrogating terror suspects. […]
Some former Bush administration officials have argued against a blanket pardon for post-9/11 activities, saying it would be tantamount to an admission that the Bush policies weren’t legal.
President-elect Barack Obama is reportedly unlikely to pursue criminal cases against officials responsible for authorizing and executing the Bush administration’s torture policies, but some Obama advisers are said to be in favor of “setting up a 9/11-style commission that would investigate counterterrorism policies and make public as many details as possible.”