Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed an outside prosecutor Wednesday to lead a criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes.
“The Department’s National Security Division has recommended, and I have concluded, that there is a basis for initiating a criminal investigation of this matter, and I have taken steps to begin that investigation,” Mukasey said in a statement released Wednesday.
Mukasey named John Durham, a federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to oversee the case. Durham has a reputation as one of the nation’s most relentless prosecutors. He served as an outside prosecutor overseeing an investigation into the FBI’s use of mob informants in Boston and helped send several Connecticut public officials to prison.
What this entire episode represents is yet another example of the CIA’s inability to keep a secret. The concept of “State Secrets” obviously died along with the cold war.
The decision to tape any interrogation of Al-Qaeda suspects especially any enhanced interrogations was probably the most horrible idea ever conceived. A tape like that is the equivalent of a loose nuke in political terms and should never have been made.
Now of course this whole thing is going to play out like a textbook, and someone is gonna have to be thrown under the bus. I suspect the sacrificial lamb at the CIA already knows who he or she is and is just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Mukasey has to prove to Congress that he’s running a different kind of Justice Department than Gonzalez, so he’s obligated to hang someone out to dry.
The larger and more troubling question than anything goes back to the intelligence community’s inability to keep a secret. Leaking State Secrets has become business as usual and the leaker or leakers are never caught and never prosecuted.
I don’t care if the CIA destroyed one tape or a thousand tapes, or if they torture terrorists, or if they send terrorists to be tortured by someone else. What I do care about is why I know about any of it?
Contrary to what the NY Times thinks, I don’t need to know about NSA wiretapping, tape destruction, waterboarding, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, torture, or any of the rest of it.
I want the CIA to do whatever they deem necessary to prevent any future attacks. I don’t care how they do it, or where they do it as long as it gets done.
We should not know as much as we do, because everything we now know our enemies now know. If leakers were sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, I’m betting the vast majority of leaks would dry up overnight.
Who in the hell is ever gonna want to join the CIA or NSA, DIA, if they run the risk of being prosecuted for doing their job if a political scapegoat is needed?
Americans need to decide if gathering intelligence and conducting clandestine operations is something that’s important to our National Security. If we don’t believe intelligence is important then let’s just close down the CIA and other agencies.
If we do think that gathering intelligence is indeed vital to our national security, then we should just shut-up and let the CIA do their job. That means not asking how information was obtained, where it was obtained, or under what conditions.
Playing “gotcha” with America’s most important intelligence agency during a time of war is despicable, disgraceful, and outrageous.
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