Holder Announces the Investigation

And notes some will be unhappy that he has initiated the review. But doesn’t consider those of us who smell a whitewash.

I have reviewed the OPR report in depth. Moreover, I have closely examined the full, still-classified version of the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report, as well as other relevant information available to the Department. As a result of my analysis of all of this material, I have concluded that the information known to me warrants opening a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. The Department regularly uses preliminary reviews to gather information to determine whether there is sufficient predication to warrant a full investigation of a matter. I want to emphasize that neither the opening of a preliminary review nor, if evidence warrants it, the commencement of a full investigation, means that charges will necessarily follow.

Assistant United States Attorney John Durham was appointed in 2008 by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations. During the course of that investigation, Mr. Durham has gained great familiarity with much of the information that is relevant to the matter at hand. Accordingly, I have decided to expand his mandate to encompass this related review. Mr. Durham, who is a career prosecutor with the Department of Justice and who has assembled a strong investigative team of experienced professionals, will recommend to me whether there is sufficient predication for a full investigation into whether the law was violated in connection with the interrogation of certain detainees.

There are those who will use my decision to open a preliminary review as a means of broadly criticizing the work of our nation’s intelligence community. I could not disagree more with that view. The men and women in our intelligence community perform an incredibly important service to our nation, and they often do so under difficult and dangerous circumstances. They deserve our respect and gratitude for the work they do. Further, they need to be protected from legal jeopardy when they act in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance. That is why I have made it clear in the past that the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees. I want to reiterate that point today, and to underscore the fact that this preliminary review will not focus on those individuals.

I share the President’s conviction that as a nation, we must, to the extent possible, look forward and not backward when it comes to issues such as these. While this Department will follow its obligation to take this preliminary step to examine possible violations of law, we will not allow our important work of keeping the American people safe to be sidetracked.

I fully realize that my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial. As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law. In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take."

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @armandodkos You know I love you right?
45sreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Heh, Yes, I, of all people, am Mr. Beltway. Good one!
1mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Attacking and scolding people that agree with you seems a poor use of time.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos I dunno, I think fact I agree w/King decision+think it should prevail does that sufficiently. Just not belligerent enough for U
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wonder if a futile suit against the President will lead Congress to do something about expansive immunity claims? Prolly not.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick If they get handset ID because you're sitting next to me, is that CDR? Not traditionally, no. But it is included in permitted IDs.
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick We know they intend to use track burners. So if they're doing that analysis why would we believe they're not using location?
42mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @granick Not at all. They have to return to a CDR at each step. Says nothing about what they do to get there.
42mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @LemonSlayerUS I'm talking NGOs, not members of Congress.
44mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Fairly certain we've known for over 5 years Powell was not briefed on torture until September 16, 2002.
44mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Maybe I'm wrong and NSA doesn't intend to do contact chaining on location. But wouldn't it be smart to get something in writing first?
52mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Bunch of privacy NGOs just supported legislation w/o first getting promised assurances for ODNI it doesn't put NSA in our smartphones.
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