Mercy Politics: Obama's Decision:" Worse Than a Crime, It's a Mistake": "if you are not going to prosecute the CIA agents arguing that they were just following orders issued by the upper echelon of the Bush administration; then you have to go after the legal architects of the memos, and even further up the Bush administration's 'food chain' to whomever gave the instructions to draft the documents in question. This lack of legal logic is troubling from someone as smart as Obama; especially considering that he has a background in constitutional law."
Thing is, he IS too smart to know this will play out the way he seems to hope. The release of the full memos, rather than selected excerpts, will tend to add weight to efforts outside of the Washington political context, such as ACLU v. Rumsfield.
Whatever arises from that effort, in terms of legal, or merely political impact, will tend to be blamed on the ACLU - not President Obama, who has to rely on a rather nervous intelligence community. But at some point, it may well be that public pressure will actually "throw him into dat briar patch."