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Reply #14: You are confusing "orders" with "legal opinions"--it's not the same at all [View All]

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 09:52 AM
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14. You are confusing "orders" with "legal opinions"--it's not the same at all
Edited on Tue Aug-25-09 09:55 AM by HamdenRice
We've discussed this ad infinitum, but what the heh.

"I was just following orders" is not a defense to being charged with committing a crime.

But if you decline to follow an order, but instead ask for a legal opinion, not from the person giving you the order, but from the highest law enforcement agency in the country, as to whether the order is legal, and that highest law enforcement agency in the country says, "if you do this, you will not be committing a crime," and if you follow that legal opinion, then that law enforcement agency cannot turn around and prosecute you. It doesn't mean you have not committed a crime. It doesn't mean you are innocent. It means that that particular law enforcement agency cannot prosecute you because it advised you that the act was legal.

That's what Holder is saying.

It's actually closer to "estoppel" than it is to exoneration of the criminal act. The torturer is not innocent, but the law enforcement agency (the Justice Department) is "estopped" from prosecuting a person it gave a legal opinion to.
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