(8 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Today, Attorney General Michael Mukasey is appearing before the House Judiciary Committee chaired by John Conyers. In his testimony today, the Washington Post reports Mukasey rejects a criminal probe into waterboarding.
“Waterboarding, because it was authorized to be part of a program … cannot possibly be the subject of a Justice Department investigation,” Mukasey said…
“That would mean that the same department that authorized the program would now prosecute someone for taking part” in it, he said.
What the Attorney General effectively has admitted by his testimony is the Bush administration cannot investigate itself. Since what has been so obvious for the past seven years is now the official position of the Bush administration’s Justice Department, I think there must now be an independent special prosecutor appointed and tasked with investigating the authorization and use of torture by the Bush administration.
Will the Democratic leadership in Congress rise to meet this latest slap in the face of America by the Bush administration?
Dan Eggen writing in the Washington Post story observes:
Mukasey’s remarks were a direct rebuff to demands from many leading Democrats this week that the Justice Department open a criminal probe into the CIA’s use of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning in an attempt to force information from a prisoner.
The statements also appear to conflict with his testimony in the Senate last week, when Mukasey said on several occasions that a special U.S. attorney’s probe into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes could be expanded to include a probe of interrogation tactics shown on the tapes.
Mukasey sticking his middle finger up to the Democrats in Congress and saying anything, possibly lying under oath, to help the Bush administration squirm away from Congressional oversight.
According to CQ Politics, Mukasey also denied Conyer’s request for past legal opinions on waterboarding made by the Department of Justice. CQ Politics notes:
Mukasey’s refusal could tee up another constitutional showdown over committee access to administration documents, depending on how far Conyers decides to push it.
Will Chairman Conyers and Speaker Pelosi roll over and let their tummies be scratched again by the Bush administration? Or will this time, the oversight bark become bite? So far, the Democratic-controlled House has been more or less toothless.
According to CQ Politics:
Mukasey said he would not give the committee the memoranda because they were classified. After Conyers pointed out that the committee members have top secret security clearances, Mukasey said “the opinions relate to a past program that simply can’t be disclosed in that fashion.”
So another big ol’ fuck you to Conyers, Pelosi, the House Democrats, and the American people. Will Conyers and Peloisi do something about it this time?