Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Conyers Raps New AG on CIA Tapes Investigation

Before everybody praises Michael "Is Waterboarding Torture?" Mukasey, Bush's new Attorney General, for appointing U.S. Prosecutor John Durham as head of a Justice Department criminal investigation into the CIA videotape destruction scandal, consider these succinct comments from an old Washington hand, Congressman John Conyers (remarks in bold are my emphases):

While I certainly agree that these matters warrant an immediate criminal investigation, it is disappointing that the Attorney General has stepped outside the Justice Department’s own regulations and declined to appoint a more independent special counsel in this matter. Because of this action, the Congress and the American people will be denied –- as they were in the Valerie Plame matter –- any final report on the investigation.

Equally disappointing is the limited scope of this investigation, which appears limited to the destruction of two tapes. The government needs to scrutinize what other evidence may have been destroyed beyond the two tapes, as well as the underlying allegations of misconduct associated with the interrogations.

The Justice Department’s record over the past seven years of sweeping the administration’s misconduct under the rug has left the American public with little confidence in the Administration’s ability to investigate itself. Nothing less than a special counsel with a full investigative mandate will meet the tests of independence, transparency and completeness. Appointment of a special counsel will allow our nation to begin to restore our credibility and moral standing on these issues.

So Durham is supposed to have cornered the mob, and have jailed some Connecticut pols... This is starting to smell like the Fitzgerald prosecution, with its Dudley Do-Right prosecutor, the limited scope of investigation, and likely many months before anything ever comes out about the destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice.

I agree with Congressman Conyers that a special prosecutor is needed in this case. But Rep. Conyers... really... wouldn't impeachment be a more direct way to "restore our credibility and moral standing on these issues"? And who could do more about that than... YOU!

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