To Prosecute or Not to Prosecute:

The New York Times reports that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility recommends that the federal government reopen potential cases against CIA employees for using illegal interrogation techniques on terror-related detainees. New details of detainee abuse, contained in the CIA Inspector General's report, were leaked over the weekend. The report is due to be released today.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Smith, who served as the CIA's general counsel in 1995 and 1996, makes the case against prosecuting CIA employees in today's Washington Post. Smith concludes:

If media reports are accurate, the conduct detailed in the inspector general's report was contrary to our values. It caused harm to our nation and cannot be repeated. But prosecuting those who actually carried out that behavior has consequences that could further harm our nation. Even if the attorney general concludes that a criminal charge could be brought, other factors must be considered. Sometimes broader national objectives must be given greater weight.