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Digby asks a question about Spiky

On Obama's trial balloon for a 9/11 Commission-style, "modified limited hangout" approach to the problem of holding torturers accountable, even if not criminally culpable, Digby compares an earlier story from Salon's Mark Benjamin with Spiky's work yesterday in Newsweek, notes disturbing similarities, and asks:

Wasn't Michael Isikoff supposed to be a crack "investigative" reporter?

Yeah, well. Reminds me of the old Spy magazine's factchecker (I think she was), Angela Crackstaff. Anyhow, I think I have one answer to why the two articles, seemingly so similar, are really different:

And naturally, it has nothing to do with the actual content of the two stories, and everything to do with Spiky's position in the Village food chain. Here's the key sentence in Spiky's article that's missing from Benjamin's:

That's one reason they are reluctant to see high-profile investigations by the Democratic-controlled Congress or to greenlight a broad Justice inquiry (absent specific new evidence of wrongdoing).

Call me Pollyanna instead of Cassadra, but that reads very much to me like a "Come hither" to whistleblowers. Seymour Hersh expects that and so does Wired. And Spiky, being higher on the food chain than Benjamin, is in a better position to offer a listening ear -- and perhaps a measure of protection.

In other words, saying "Make me do it!" to Obama on torture may still be possible. It all depends on what the civil servants have cached, and what they're willing to reveal -- or get themselves asked.

NOTE Of course, it should surprise anyone that Obama's crowd seems to think that holding torturers accountable for their crimes is "partisan." The village, as Greenwald has noted, as become lawless.

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