Go up the food chain

The federal investigation into the CIA for its interrogation tactics doesn’t go far enough.

The alleged acts are horrendous and shameful, including choking prisoners, water dousing, mock executions and — worse of all — threatening the health of their wives and children.

Instead of current plan of seeking prosecution for the subordinates who acted at the direction of their superiors and under their sketchy legal jurisdiction, the inquiry should start with then-CIA Director George Tenet and go up the Bush Administration ladder.

The most egregious acts were conducted by the bosses and lawyers who authorized the interrogations, which have been reportedly ineffective and counterproductive anyway.

I agree with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who compared the current purview of the inquiry to Abu Ghraib, when “lower ranking troops who commited abuses were hung out to dry.”

A narrow scope on administration officials would debunk one of the main justifications for not conducting the inquiry in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal editorial. The Journal goes to the knee-jerk conservative reaction of how it sends the wrong message to those who execute the war. If the inquiry goes after Veep Cheney and Justice lawyers who concocted the “enhanced interrogation tactics,” the CIA operatives are spared.

Regardless of finish, this inquiry is going to get ugly. It’s necessary to prosecute  those who’ve put in motion such travesties,  but it will also detract from larger, more important issues, such as health care reform.

The inquiry also doesn’t look good for the Obama administration, which previously sought to overlook the past and move on to “change.” But once the ACLU won a Freedom of Information Act request to get the 2004 internal CIA report, then Attorney General Eric Holder and other Obama called the inquiry.

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