The House Judiciary Committee Chairman and 18 other House Democrats asked the Attorney General to replace a government-appointed lawyer with an outside one in the investigation into the CIA’s destruction of the videotapes of the interrogations of two suspected al-Qaeda members. The replacement was requested on Jan. 1, a day before the government-appointed lawyer, John Rizzio, was scheduled to testify to the House Intelligence Committee.
The tapes were recorded in 2002 and destroyed by the CIA in 2005. They are now widely believed to have had footage of harsh interrogation techniques used on two al-Qaeda suspects. Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers believes that the Justice Department is ineligible to conduct the investigation, as the CIA consulted the Justice Department and White House lawyers about the tapes’ content and destruction.
‘The department has no business conducting the investigation and should instead turn to a special counsel,’ Conyers stated. ‘Nothing less than a special counsel with a full investigative mandate will meet the tests of independence, transparency and completeness.’
With no special counsel, there won’t be a public final report on the investigation, Conyers said. Conyers is also concerned that the government-run investigation won’t bother with looking at what other materials the CIA might have destroyed. It might also ignore whether the interrogators broke anti-torture laws.
In other words, it’s a no-brainer to keep the government out of this one and ask a party unrelated to the Justice Department and the CIA to conduct the investigation. Yet on Jan. 2, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a federal prosecutor from Connecticut to oversee the investigation. Now what’s that smell? Oh yeah, it’s Watergate.
‘We haven’t seen anything like this since the 18-and-a-half-minute gap on the tapes of Richard Nixon,’ said Senator Edward M. Kennedy from Massachusetts. Kennedy accused the CIA of a ‘cover-up’ in December, while Senator Richard J. Durbin from Illinois said that it was ‘possible that people at the agency had engaged in obstruction of justice.’ A little tame, but both asked Mukasey to appoint an investigator.
Having the Justice Department investigate these tapes is like asking Adolf Hitler to just please be honest and admit whether he’s out for world domination. The department is simply going through the motions, and it’s a bleeding wonder that the judge who oversaw the trial proceedings last month actually halted questioning when government lawyers asked him to.
What kind of bologna is this? The government first asks to be let off the hook and then gets to choose who looks into the mess they’ve made? Hell yes, an outside investigator should be chosen to investigate the matter! It shouldn’t even be an issue. The last thing Bush should want is to look like Nixon.
Yes, torture is wrong and immoral and I am against it. However, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I, for one, do not like al-Qaeda and the fact that they leveled the World Trade Center, flew a plane into the Pentagon and killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I do not appreciate the fact that they kill people as easily as I take a bite out of a delicious turkey sandwich, and I wouldn’t shed many tears if I heard that a couple of their members had suffered tortuous investigation methods.
Granted, torture is a barbaric method of gleaning information. Personally, it brings images of medieval stretch racks and morning stars to mind