In his long piece “After the Imperial Presidency” in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jonathan Mahler discusses the assertion and expansion of presidential power under George W. Bush, the role that partisan politics has played in the complacency of the Congress, and the difficulty faced by the legislative branch when trying to push back against strong and determined president. In the article, he highlights the role played (and, more importantly, not played) by Congress with respect to U.S. interrogation and detainee treatment policies and quotes HRF Executive Director Elisa Massimino:
McCain first got involved in the torture fight in early 2005, when it was by no means a popular cause, particularly inside his own party. “At a time when there was not a single person in the United States who had any influence who was willing to take this issue on, he took it on,” says the executive director of Human Rights First, Elisa Massimino, who worked with McCain on the torture bill.
Yesterday, in Slate, he jumped on the “Dismantling Guantanamo” bandwagon, and wrote about the difficulties facing the Obama Administration in dealing with the approximately 250 detainees still imprisoned at Guantanamo. He writes, “It seems safe to say that Obama’s preferred venue for trial will be the federal courts. This is the approach many on the left have been agitating for since 9/11. Last May, Human Rights First issued a 183-page report, “In Pursuit of Justice: Prosecuting Terrorism Cases in the Federal Courts,” aimed at supporting this argument.” Yes we did.