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According to the Times, “several members of the conservative legal community” in Washington D.C. are urging Bush to issue “pre-emptive pardons” to those involved so as to “not be exposed even to the risk of an investigation and expensive legal bills”:
Such a pardon would reduce the risk that a future administration might undertake a criminal investigation of operatives or policy makers involved in programs that administration lawyers have said were legal but that critics say violated laws regarding torture and surveillance.
In fact, the conservative D.C. lawyer circuit may just get its wish. The White House “would not say whether the administration was considering pre-emptive pardons, nor whether it would rule them out.”
“The president should pre-empt any long-term investigations,” said Victoria Toensing, who was a Justice Department counterterrorism official in the Reagan administration. “If we don’t protect these people who are proceeding in good faith, no one will ever take chances.”