Yesterday, President Obama said he would support a “bipartisan” congressional commission examining the Bush administration’s torture program. The Washington Post’s Dan Balz reports that this development followed weeks of “vigorous” debate inside the White House. Obama reportedly rejected a 9/11-style national commission because he thought it would “ratchet the whole thing up”:
There was, according to a senior official, considerable support among Obama’s advisers for the creation of a 9-11 Commission-style investigation as an alternative to releasing the Justice Department memos. But Obama quashed it. “His concern was that would ratchet the whole thing up,” the official said. “His whole thing is, I banned all this. This chapter is over. What we don’t need now is to become a sort of feeding frenzy where we go back and re-litigate all this.”
According to Balz, Obama was “reluctant to give a presidential imprimatur to a national commission that would keep the controversy alive for months and months and months.” Instead, Obama chose to release the OLC torture memos. Multiple members of Congress have signaled they will try to move forward on a commission.