STEPHANOPOULOS: The most popular question on your own website… comes from Bob Fertik of New York City and he asks, "Will you appoint a special prosecutor, ideally Patrick Fitzgerald, to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping."
OBAMA: "We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we're going to be looking at past practices and I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up."
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, no 9/11 commission with Independence subpoena power?
OBAMA: We have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation's going to be to move forward.
Since so many Bush Administration figures -- very much including the President and Vice-President -- did indeed "blatantly break the law" and since I hear in this response that Obama is disinclined to do anything about it, I think this signals that the Executive branch is indeed "above the law" if it wants to be. "Looking forward," I see, therefore, more lawlessness from the Executive Branch. If one learns anything from history -- it is that when Republican Presidents are let off the hook in the name of "healing," "moving on," "moving forward," all the culprits return to the scene so quickly it makes your head spin, and instantly they re-organize to indulge their never-punished criminality again and again and again. Dick Cheney, John Poindexter, Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte, Otto Reich were all legacies of "moving on" that returned to our present reality in the debacle of the George W. Bush White House. Fordian and Clintonian genuflections toward "healing" (Watergate, Iran-Contra, to say the least of it) by neglecting to pursue questions of criminal misconduct ensured the return of criminality from the same criminals and from their eager apprentices within a generation.