Bush pardons will be classified
by Carl Nyberg, Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 07:15:01 AM EST
Here's an idea that came to me this morning. President George W. Bush will pardon various members of the executive branch for war crimes, including murder and torture. To avoid the bad PR of doing this, Bush will make the pardons classified. If anyone is brought before a grand jury the individual will present his/her pardon secretly to the prosecutor.
This will protect the members of the the executive branch who did bad stuff. And it will protect the Bush, Cheney and officers of the Bush administration from some bad publicity.
If the Bush administration can convince people that that existence of these pardons is classified and a national security matter it could even block Congressional investigations.
Normally pardons would facilitate Congressional inquiries b/c someone who has been pardoned has little or no reason to limit her/his testimony by invoking the Fifth Amendment.
But what about, "Mister/Madame Chairman, under advise of counsel I respectfully refuse to answer that question because to provide an answer would reveal national security information legitimately classified by national command authority"?
I'm skeptical Congress really wants to dig into these issues anyway, but classified pardons could be a whole new way to expand government power.