Wire: White House to Assume Terrorst Interrogations, Detentions
Off the Wire:
Obama attempts to change the conversation away from health care....
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2009 -- Newswire services reported this morning that President Barack Obama has created a special White House unit for questioning terrorism suspects, as Attorney General Eric Holder weighs whether to reopen and pursue prisoner abuse cases.
A senior administration official told The Associated Press Monday that Obama has approved establishment of the new unit, to be known as the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which will be overseen by the National Security Council. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the program has not yet been officially announced.
President Obama campaigned against President George W. Bush's interrogation policies in his successful run for the presidency. While Obama has said he didn't favor prosecuting Bush administration officials in connection with alleged instances of prisoner abuse, Holder is moving to do precisely that: reopen several such cases with an eye toward possible criminal prosecution.
A government official confirmed to AP the recommendation of Justice's ethics office on grounds of anonymity, citing the internal legal deliberations and indicating they remain ongoing.
The Obama administration continues to consolidate unprecedented power within the Executive Branch. The structure of the new unit the White House is creating would depart significantly from such work under the previous administration, when the CIA had the lead and sometimes exclusive role in questioning al-Qaida suspects.
This is a developing story.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: Official: White House sets up interrogation unit
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