Patterico's Pontifications


LA Times: DOJ Will Investigate CIA Abuses

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:52 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The LA Times reports Attorney General Eric Holder will open a criminal investigation into CIA treatment of detainees:

“A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be narrow in scope, focusing on “whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized” in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws.”

The article notes there may be serious proof problems, including difficulty locating witnesses, the absence of legally admissible documentation, and problems proving the requisite level of intent:

“The U.S. anti-torture statute requires proving that an interrogator “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” — a daunting legal threshold.

Officials said it wasn’t clear that any CIA interrogators were ever informed of the limits laid out in the Justice Department memo.

“A number of people could say honestly, correctly, ‘I didn’t know what was in it,’ ” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the inner workings of the interrogation program.”

There is also concern over the fallout from such an investigation:

“I don’t blame them for wanting to look into it,” said a former high-ranking Justice Department official familiar with the details of the program. “But if they appoint a special prosecutor, it would ultimately be unsuccessful, and it would go on forever and cause enormous collateral damage on the way to getting that unsuccessful result.”

Bracing for the worst, a small number of CIA officials have put off plans to retire or leave the agency so that they can maintain their access to classified files and be in a better position to defend against a Justice investigation.”

This sounds like an investigation that will target CIA field officers and supervisors. Apparently despite the “great challenges and disturbing disunity” of our times, there is something to be gained by “spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”


39 Responses to “LA Times: DOJ Will Investigate CIA Abuses”

  1. I thought Teh One said this was not going to happen. Another example of his words having no meaning after the moment they are uttered, or a rogue AG ?

    JD (783baa)

  2. I called it. “Show trials begin when Obama hits the neighborhood of 50-55% approval rating.”

    Techie (482700)

  3. JD,

    Obama did say that but if you read Eric Holder’s statement at the time, he left the door open to these prosecutions:

    “Holder also stressed that intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct.”

    DRJ (8d138b)

  4. Eh…

    Whatever it takes to keep from going after the New Black Panthers in PA…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  5. Nobody respects us for this excoriation of our own system. It makes us seem weak and unwilling to do what is necessary. Our allies are not likely to be affected while our enemies will only exploit. I am the first to say “take the high road”, but not when it comes down to the actual safety of our citizens. With proper oversight, we must trust that sometimes what we don’t know, may save us.

    jpenaz (c68703)

  6. I’m waiting for Holder to investigate certain Senators with connections to a certain mortage company… oh wait, they have (D) behind their names don’t they?

    Teh Won (85dcd7)

  7. What about the New Black Panthers with weapons at polling stations ? Eric?

    Dennis D (ae900a)

  8. This is called a diversion attempting to rally the left and confuse the right in a classic divide and conquer.

    This is also known as the “Chicago way” right out of Alinsky’s playbook. We hit them with health care questions they hit us twice as hard by resurrecting Bush/Rove/Cheney. Predictably, they generate a crisis then use it to control the debate.

    vet66 (9d1bb3)

  9. If I was a Rebublican I would flat out state that once IF they go through with this, they should expect similar in 2013 or 2017 v the Obama Admin. With the goal being doing a firing squad and making it a treason issue.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  10. The problem with these prosecutions is not what happens to the people they go after.

    The problem is what will happen in the future. What interrogator will want to go beyond name, rank and serial number when they talk to somnone in AQ. Sure some innocent American civilians and soldiers may die but at least no terrorist will have their hair mussed up.

    Things like this make people wonder if Obama is more concerned with protecting Americans or having Euro-weenies in Brussels like him.

    MU789 (f763c7)

  11. No, once this happens, it starts down a dark road for American politics, where every administration and its rank-and-file members spend every moment covering their asses and trying to limit retribution opportunities from the administration that will come next.

    “If I support this policy or submit this memo or publish this analysis, could it throw me in jail in 9 years?”

    Techie (482700)

  12. Extraordinary rendition.

    Andrew Higgins and Christopher Cooper, “Cloak and Dagger: A CIA-Backed Team Used Brutal Means to Crack Terror Cell”, Wall Street Journal, 20 November 2001

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  13. ***
    1930’s Soviet style show trials are here. Maybe they can sock it to the EVIL BOOOOOSH and CHENEY for defending and protecting the U.S.A. after the 9/11/2001 TERRORIST ATTACK–aka “man caused disaster” in Obama Newspeak. The congressional hearings should provide a lot of SCOOTER LIBBY perjury traps.
    Probably the WW2 Marine Corp approach should be used by our military in the future–take no prisoners and let God sort it out. No useful information will ever be gained from prisoners again.
    I hope the people who are trashing our country will be “on target” when the next attack occurs.
    John Bibb

    John Bibb (0cd24b)

  14. I agree that this is driven by his troubles with the left. They are going off the reservation because he is losing the health reform debate. They are willing to go for bread and circuses because they are not really serious. This is about extended adolescence that we can see demonstrated on the lefty blogs. There is no serious debate just bawling abuse at anyone who doesn’t take their side.

    I would say that Obama will regret this but I don’t really understand his motives. It is as though he still doesn’t believe he is president. The Church Committee gutted the CIA in the 70s and we were left with an ass-covering bureaucracy that had NO assets in Iraq yet still were making statements about what was going on there. When the Iranians took over the embassy in 1979, there were no Farsi speaking CIA agents there.

    Valerie Plame is the poster girl for what we ended up with after Church got through with the CIA. What will we have now ?

    Mike K (2cf494)

  15. Remember all of this in 2010. Work to take back Congress, that’s the first step.

    bio mom (6eac50)

  16. It is looking like the NEXT administration is going to have to investigate Eric Holder’s politically motivated actions for being possibly illegal. Hope he likes orange, because he may be wearing it himself in about 5 years.

    Ray (3c46ca)

  17. Eric Holder?! Such a damn joke.

    What he and his Justice Department will do (or would like to do) to the CIA is hinted at in the case involving the LAPD., Heather Mac Donald, January 15, 2009

    In September 2000, Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan and Los Angeles police chief Bernard Parks phoned Deputy U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. They requested that he call off the Justice Department’s pursuit of a federal consent decree against the Los Angeles Police Department.
    The Justice Department had been nosing around the LAPD for several years under a 1994 federal law that allows the DOJ to sue police agencies for a “pattern or practice” of violating civil rights.

    [D]espite putting the LAPD through countless hours of answering questions and copying records, the federal investigators found no evidence that the Rampart gang officers’ corruption went beyond their particular police division or represented anything other than a highly localized breakdown of supervision. The Rampart abuses did not, in other words, represent a “pattern or practice” of civil-rights violations by the LAPD.

    …The LAPD became consumed with the Rampart case; it hardly needed federal oversight to ensure that it was taking the problem seriously. But Bill Lann Lee, head of the [Bill Clinton administration] Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, insisted that the LAPD be put under a federal monitor who would dictate nearly every aspect of policing practice and policy for a minimum of five years. Lee presented the city with a massive consent decree that would bind the LAPD to the DOJ’s supervision — and if the city refused to sign, DOJ would take Los Angeles to court. Included in the proposed decree’s 180 provisions were mandates to record the race of every suspect whom officers stopped, though the Rampart scandal had had nothing to do with so-called “racial profiling.”

    In their September 2000 call to Deputy Attorney General Holder, Mayor Riordan and Chief Parks stressed that the city was already doing everything possible to prevent a reoccurrence of the abuses and that a federal monitor would only impede the department’s ability to operate and pursue existing reforms. Holder was unmoved.

    Complying with the federal straitjacket cost the always cash-starved LAPD $40 million in its first year and $50 million each year thereafter, according to city estimates.

    The department yanked 350 officers from crime-fighting duties to tend to the care and feeding of the consent decree….

    The late 1990s also saw the rise of the bogus “racial profiling” concept, in which police departments were deemed racist if their stop and arrest rates didn’t match population benchmarks.

    The Justice Department under Deputy Attorney
    General Holder gave a significant push to its evolution, and the momentum of DOJ-sponsored “racial profiling” conferences and DOJ-funded research continued through the early years of the Bush administration.

    Mark (411533)

  18. Does DRJ think it’s ok to go BEYOND what the US says is permitted?


    Andrew (4fca9e)

  19. Does DRJ think it’s ok to go BEYOND what the US says is permitted?


    Comment by Andrew — 8/9/2009 @ 12:11 pm

    Where did she say that, little creepy troll? BTW, little creepy troll, did you know that the opinion of the Attorney General, and actions accordingly, is an absolute defense to a charge of having committed a crime?

    nk (1758de)

  20. There is stooopid, and then there is Andrew.

    JD (64906e)

  21. Great, bring it on Holder- you partisan toady.

    Obama really kicked an ant hill with his ill-advised and politically motivated release of Bush Administration memos regarding EITs. Surely he regrets it, but he’ll just double-down with an investigation of the CIA now.

    But Obama, Pelosi, and Holder seem to have forgot something: the CIA KILLS people… it’s in their job description- Did these twits really think that such killers were going to just meekly take-one-for-the-team… when the team captain is a lying, incompetent, arrogant nebbish who has basically told them they need to kiss his ring? -please

    Let’s have a hearing and get it all out there, shall we? Then just watch the rats scatter who in 2006-07 attacked George W Bush for protecting the country from terrorist attack… but who clearly knew what was going on five years before we heard a peep out of them-

    Reaganite Republican (6836b1)

  22. DRJ: That they “…would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct…” does not mean that they won’t be bankrupted by the above-board investigation into their lawful conduct.
    As everyone knows in DC, once you’re named in an investigation, even just as a witness, you MUST engage top-notch, expensive, legal counsel to protect your six.
    It is only the targets of those investigations, if they prove fruitless, that can apply for reimbursement for legal expenses; everyone else, so it seems, is on their own.

    AD - RtR/OS! (72baf0)

  23. And BTW, when will they release the memo’s detailing what plots were stopped by EIT sessions (as per ex-VP Cheney’s requests)?
    Might they be forced to release this information in any discovery process in prosecuting lower-level CIA employees?

    AD - RtR/OS! (72baf0)

  24. Andrew:

    Does DRJ think it’s ok to go BEYOND what the US says is permitted?

    Holder or a special prosecutor plan to prosecute intelligence community officials who abused their authority, e.g., they did not act reasonably or rely in good faith on legal advice. That sounds simple but reasonable people don’t always agree on what conduct is reasonable and what constitutes abuse.

    Thus, we end up with each new administration investigating the decisions and personnel of its predecessor. That’s a good way to make sure no one takes risks, but entities like the CIA should be risk-taking organizations.

    DRJ (8d138b)

  25. So it is now Holders dept of revenge. They won’t or can’t do their appointed job so the will be kept busy going after the enemies of the ‘chosen one’. They’ll have to look back to the GWB administration to find any intelligence since it’s clear there is non in President O’Dumbo’s num-nuts administration.

    Scrapiron (4e0dda)

  26. Obviously the Obama administration is feeling enough heat about its incompetence to want to generate some circuses.

    SPQR X (26be8b)

  27. Obviously the Obama administration is feeling enough heat about its incompetence to want to generate some circuses.

    …as well as getting seriously spanked by the public when the president himself attempted to have that public conversation about race…

    Dana (57e332)

  28. […] Carnival, The Swamp, Macsmind, Don Surber, Washington Monthly, Atlas Shrugs, THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS, Patterico’s Pontifications, Emptywheel, Gateway Pundit, MyDD and NPR Blogs SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "The Show Trials Begin: […]

    The Show Trials Begin: Holder’s Justice Dept. Go after the C.I.A. | Political Byline (e78bc3)

  29. Here’s the litmus test:
    For anybody who fibbed about getting a blowjob, fearful of their wife finding out, push an all-out constitutional crisis to get to the, uh, bottom of everything. Spend gazillions of dollars and put Congress’ full-time attention to it. Gotta uphold the constitution, don’t ya know.
    Otherwise, especially if it only had to do with completely suberting the constitution and putting our soldiers in even more unnecessary harm’s way, then let bygones be, uh, forgotten.
    You people are so small. There is no typeface to convey the truth of how small you are. But somewhere down deep in your reptilian uber-consciousness you know. That’s why you’re so angry and this l’il room gives you venue to vent.
    Have at it.
    I hope you lose your Medicare and that Obama’s death team deems you unworthy of asthma inhalers, etc.

    Larry Reilly (45c8f2)

  30. LOL, looks like someone is afraid and flailing about trying to hit something, anything … but it misses as expected. Go back to your basement home while adults take charge and sweep the inexperienced children back out.

    Ray (3c46ca)

  31. Jack Kennedy threatened to splinter the CIA into “A thousand pieces.”

    I’m sure that his position had nothing to do with The Grassy Knoll, but one can only wonder.

    Paul Albers (1fa160)

  32. How does extraordinary rendition put soldiers in harm’s way?

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  33. Being an obscure Illinois legislator and then a backbencher in the US Senate for four years, did not prepare Obama for the harsh reality that his words as president would be memorialized in a variety of venues, with video not the least of those. There are few better ways to destroy the credibility of a man known for his gifts as an orator, than to play two completely contradictory statements by him back to back- on tape and in person. That rivets the attention even of non-readers. Linda Douglass must be fuming.

    mhr (9ac5fe)

  34. You people are so small. There is no typeface to convey the truth of how small you are. But somewhere down deep in your reptilian uber-consciousness you know. That’s why you’re so angry and this l’il room gives you venue to vent.
    Have at it.
    I hope you lose your Medicare and that Obama’s death team deems you unworthy of asthma inhalers, etc.

    Comment by Larry Reilly

    You seem to be the one in need of venting. Your angry and mean spirited diatribe fits well with your president’s governing style.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  35. Mike K – Mawy Reilly was undergoing a spleen-vent.

    JD (cc3aa7)

  36. Actually, I doubt he has one. Those guys are limited to two orifices which are interchangeable. The rest is empty space.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  37. Larry Reilly’s ‘You are a loser and I hope you die’ reasoning is just plain boring.

    I do like that we have some disagreement on these threads. His trolling is a transparent attempt to overwhelm any real discussion between people who disagree and don’t hope the other party dies.

    This is what this nation has to look forward to. We’ve got one forth of the nation, on either side, who are easily as angry as civil war America was. But our warfare is too powerful and scary for anyone to contemplate a civil war. So instead, we will have utter demonization, pure rage, and screaming from Larry Reilly and many others.

    It doesn’t matter who the GOP runs in 2012, they will be treated like Sarah Palin. Imagine if Sarah won the next election… how would Larry act? We’re going to have to deal with that level of hysteria for a very long time, and I’m already very tired of it.

    Juan (bd4b30)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2059 secs.