On Sunday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel went on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos and clearly declared that the Obama administration would not prosecute the Bushies who “devised” torture policies.
That seemed to go further than anything the administration had said before. So yesterday we called the White House to get a more formal statement on the issue. And when we didn’t hear back, we got to wondering: had Rahm been freelancing, and gotten out ahead of White House policy?
Looks like that’s what happened: the White House now appears to be walking back Rahm’s comments. The New York Times reports today:
[A]dministration officials said Monday that Mr. Emanuel had meant the officials who ordered the policies carried out, not the lawyers who provided the legal rationale.
In other words, Rahm slipped up.
We’re glad the White House has walked back that position — amid what seems to be mounting pressure to hold Bush officials fully accountable (more on that in a bit). But if nothing else, the episode may provide an interesting window into the White House chief of staff’ personal views on the issue.