SJC Mukasey Hearing, Part Three

Leahy: Updates people in the stimulus package, and 15-day extension. So that’s why not everyone is here right now.

"Box Turtle" Cornyn: Office of Government Information Services, FOIA reform. Concerns about moving that office to DOJ, or somewhere else. I wanted to let you know I have reservations. My opinion is that the legislation forecloses moving the office.

"Box Turtle": FISA reform. 15-day extension is kicking the can down the road. Let me just talk about this in human terms. Talked to the father of soldiers who had been kidnapped by Al Qaeda. And his father says if we had an easy FISA law, his son might be alive. Do you think we need to make it easier for people to go through FISA?

[Shorter Box Turtle: I’m going to pretend, once again, that FISA forced a delay of wiretapping, when in fact it was just DOJ disorganization.]

MM: You put a human face on the problem we’re trying to prevent from recurring. We want to lower the burden on the govt in all its presentations to FISA just to make sure that what gets approved are procedures. I hope that DOJ acted with all the speed it could act.

[Interesting dodge by Mukasey, not agreeing that DOJ moved as fast as it could.]

"Box Turtle": I’m okay with a relative basis for torture.

MM: There are clearly circumstances where waterboarding is illegal. I’m not going to get into an abstract discussion of when it’d be legal. Nor am I going to call into question what people do or have done, when it’s not necessary to do so.

Whitehouse: In your analytical stance in your letter, you have assumed the role of a corporate counsel to the Executive Branch. You have taken steps to make sure nothing illegal has happened, but you are unwilling to look back and dredge up anything that may be a problem. That’s not a proper stance, you are also a prosecutor, Prosecutors do look back, dredge up the past, in order to do justice. It’s the mission statement of the DOJ to seek just punishment of those guilty of illegal behavior. Duty of USG, whose interest is that justice shall be done. The president has said we will investigate all acts of torture, you have said if someone is guilty of violating the law. [Cites code on torture] You are the sole prosecuting authority for that statute, the DOJ.

MM: Yes, DOJ is.

Whitehouse: You have two hats. In the prosecutor hat, could you tell me in what way there is an absence of concrete facts about waterboarding to even look to see whether this statute should apply.

MM: There is no divided loyalty.

Whitehouse: Let’s talk about the two duties when it comes to being an independent prosecutor.

MM: One of the many questions wrt past conduct is what authorizations were given. My analysis has only tangentially to do with that. Because I can’t say "your authorization is good only as long as the tenure of the person who gave it."

[Shorter Mukasey: I can’t prosecuting people for relying on the Yoo Memo]

Whitehouse: the message you send otherwise is, "I was only following orders" is alright.

MM: No, it didn’t work at Nuremberg.

Whitehouse: Has there been an analysis of whether or not any national of the US is in violation of torture statute.

MM: I start investigations after some indication that someone might have improper authorization.

Whitehouse: The destruction of the taping of torture is a criminal issue. But whether the underlying criminal act is not entitled to investigation.

MM: The way that started is that we were told there was destruction. Preliminary inquiry found that some statute may have been violated. We were required to and did a criminal investigation.

Whitehouse: Shouldn’t that be applied in this case.

MM: You elided one point when you said there was evidence of an interrogation.

Whitehouse: you said there was evidence of a destruction. There isn’t a principal distinction between the two.

MM: Head of CIA said someone destroyed a tape without proper authorization. Probability of crime.

Whitehouse: I don’t see how that solves the Nuremberg problem. If the reason that you’re given is that it appears that the interrogators were following orders.

MM: No, you’re assuming that what was on the tapes.

Whitehouse: I’m not assuming any such thing. There should be somebody that investigates this. If what you’re telling me is that this hasn’t been investigated, it seems to me there is a split standard.

MM: The investigation may disclose what was on the tapes.

[Well why not bring up the CIA OIG report which found that the torture was cruel and inhuman.

Schumer: Good and bad, you’re what I expected. Worked on politicization, but you opinion on waterboarding is different than most of the American people. Given that waterboarding is repulsive to you, do you support a ban on waterboarding, whether by statute or executive order?

MM: As a matter of principle, I try to avoid the blank canvass over past or future laws on which to paint my morality. The question is a question on which other people own a substantial part of the answer, namely the people who gather intelligence, who explain our position abroad. One of the things I’d like to do as the junior member of the assemblage I’ve just made, is to ask them.

Schumer: That answer’s not up to what I expect of you. I know you’d like to hear from a lot of people, one of your roles as AG is as an advisor on policy. I find it hard to understand how you personally would not be able to say that something is repugnant should be outlawed. I’m asking you, there’s a statute that’s likely to get to the President’s desk. I’m asking you in terms of the advice you’d give the President, should it be outlawed.

MM: I don’t want to trivialize the question so I’ll refrain from telling you all the other things that I find repugnant. I want to be able to analyze it, I want to imagine all the facts and circumstances in which it’ll arise.

Schumer: You were talking about a standard with Durbin. You didn’t say that to us, you said, it’s repugnant. I just find it, you have an opportunity to be something of a leader. You are going to be asked whether we should pass a law. We have an opportunity to pass a law.

MM: I haven’t done all the things I have to do.

Schumer: I can’t tell you how profoundly disappointed I am.

Haggis Specter: Stephen Bradbury. I want to give you my endorsement of Mr. Bradbury. I’ve had considerable interaction with him. I think he’s a first rate lawyer. I hope he’ll be confirmed by the Senate.

[Shorter Haggis: I’m still Haggis, don’t worry]

Haggis: Reporter shield and McNulty memorandum attorney client privilege. I’d appreciate if we can get your opinion bc we’re going to be moving forward on shield and attorney-client. Shield, very strong support. Letter to Grassley: 88 subpoenas, I’d like to have Grassley’s letter matter of record. It all comes down to Judy Judy Judy, and it was disclosed that it was Richard Armitage, so I’m wondering what was done.

Haggis: On subject of McNulty memorandum. Govts conduct shocking conscience. When you start with two propositions, commonwealth has burden of proof. And Constitutional right to counsel and involves privilege. Why should there be inducement to secure waivers.

MM: I don’t condone any coercion to waive attorney-client privilege.

[Does this mean you will stop wiretapping conversations between attorneys and their clients, as DOJ has done with CCR?]

Haggis: Investigation into subprime problems. Please prioritize that. With your administration can we take a new look at those contempt citations. Those individuals are just the messengers. Leahy and I have been trying to work out a formula where we could question Miers and others. If we could come to terms on the transcript that we might be able to unlock the controversy. The transcript issue is indispensible more for protection of witness than anything else. Would you be willing to revisit this? You’d say contempt to USA of DC would not be authorized.

MM: Opinions going back many administration immune when privilege invoked otherwise serious separation of powers issues. Long been deferred or avoided by accommodation.

Haggis: isn’t that a matter for the Courts, not for the executive. It ought to be a judicial determination. Not a decision for the executive giving immunity for himself.

MM: It’s my understanding that if they have an order.

Haggis: where does that immunity come from? Executive order?

MM: It has been recognized in Constitution, though it’s not mentioned, just as congressional oversight is not mentioned.

Haggis: Can we find an accomodation?

MM: I’d be willing to find an accommodation. I’m not going to overturn long-standing opinions.

Haggis: There’s no long-standing rule about a transcript.

MM: I don’t know that.

Haggis: You don’t know that? How can that be a long-standing rule against transcript.

MM: Different than Congressional oversight. Senior Presidential aides.

Haggis: But the President has offered to make them available.

Leahy: When you look into this, you’ll find that at least one of the witnesses who testified, also said she had never discussed this matter with the President, never had discussion with those who were going to discuss with the President. We found Executive Privilege to be a tad broad. I don’t want to use the word cover-up, but it’s the first thing that came to me. It’s also the second thing that came to me.

Leahy: Torture tapes. Say we found a backup tape (you often find a backup tape), how do were determine whether there was a crime, if you refuse to state an opinion.

MM: John Durham is doing an investigation.

Leahy: Why’d USA ED VA recuse?

MM: Over issues relating to a case he had and that he generally has a relationship with the CIA bc they’re located in district.

Leahy: How do we determine whether others have a conflict.

MM: They are. When people appear in ED VA, they have to be members of bar.

Leahy: In recusal request, did he lay out why he was recusing.

MM: Facts were teased out that made us consider the recusal.

Leahy: Can you assure us that the people working with Durham won’t have conflict.

MM: They won’t have the same conflict.

Leahy: We sent a letter, asking when and how did attorneys first become aware of torture tapes? Do you have an answer?

MM: No, I don’t.

Leahy: Did they ever view any of these tapes?

MM: I don’t know that. What was done within department is not something I would disclose if I knew it.

Leahy: wouldn’t that be fairly important. It would mean DOJ was looking at torture tapes prior to their destruction.

MM: I didn’t say I wouldn’t review them, I said I wouldn’t disclose that here.

Leahy: Well, perhaps you should get together with Haggis and I.

MM: Discussion of whether they viewed it is separate.

Leahy: Was anyone asked about advisability to destroy the tape.

MM: I’ve seen a report on that. I’ve seen no evidence that anyone in department saw the tapes [this may be wrong, he may have said "discussed destroying tapes]

MM: I became aware when I picked up WaPo.

Leahy: Makes joke that they would be more likely to find things if they just marked the NYT secret. Plus, they’d get a crossword puzzle.

Leahy: Did you have communication between DOJ and WH? Was there any communication between DOJ and WH about that?

MM: Durham will look at.

Leahy: And when he’s finished, would you have problem with him testifying.

MM: USAs have not testified as to pending cases, I don’t see a reason to make an exception here.

Leahy: We may come back to that if we’re unable to find these other answers. You doubtless heard about how WH, even though they’re required to maintain emails, now say they’ve destroyed many over period of two years.

MM: I saw a story that there are emails that should have been there but aren’t.

Leahy: Also that they were using RNC server. If they were not following the law on maintaining records, laws are fairly clear, you may recall that Congress asked extensive questions about that in last Admin. Is that something department would look into.

MM: I’d need to know circumstances under which not retained.

Leahy: Law is clear that records have to be retained, but they were lost. Does that raise any questions.

MM: That’s something I’d like to know more about.

Grassley: Whistleblowers exposed many scandals in FBI crimelab. Youssef another whistleblower, FBI requires neither language skills or knowledge of Arabic culture. Sounds too much like history where FBI didn’ t think scientists had to be in charge of labs. You said this would be among your highest priorities to familiarize yourself with Youssef. Youssef provided a October 11, 2007 letter to your office, describing threats against those trying to hire experts. I’d like to have that letter included in record. What action has your office taken to investigation.

MM: Youssef’s letter is in litigation.

Grassley: Will you seek an independent review?

MM: I think we ought to wait for the progress of that litigation, which raises that and other issues.

Grassley: We’ve got someone in FBI saying our terrorism threats are being weakened and we’re going to wait for a court.

MM: FBI has been improving counter-terrorism, a process in which I’m actively involved and Director involved.

Grassley: Youssef also involved in exigent letters. Where terror letters were used. Counsel said her office did not know of the letters. IG report, a division of counsel’s office knew as early as 2004. The committee requested all emails related to exigent letters last year, we have received one small batch of heavily redacted documents. When are these coming.

MM: I’ll find out about review of documents. My understanding is that there were changes in the oversight. Problem was lack of oversight.

[Gosh, then don’t you think you ought to support oversight of FISA]

Grassley: Will DOJ pursue employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

MM: Yes.

Grassely: Prouty, fundraisers for terrorist organizations. FBI provided briefings, FBIs background investigation failed to find sham marriage and overstay of visa, bro-in-law had Hezbollah ties. FBI will be reinvestigating background of all agents from foreign countries. How many will be investigated? Will all non-native born agents be re-examined.

MM: I can’t tell you how many. I believe it was more than just reliance on Prouty having become citizen.

Grassley: Hanssen. FBI resisted dedicating a unit to internal security. Finally did this years after Hanssen case. How long until this unit up and running?

MM: Will discuss with director.

Leahy: Thanks, Grassley.

Whitehouse: Process question. In terms of advisory responsibilities, not going to investigate. You’ve disclosed waterboarding not part of CIA interrogation regime. Still leaves open torture statute whether there are concrete facts or circumstances, given that that evaporates, whatever it is it is. I’m trying to determine if that is taking place (the analysis), if you’re waiting for Durham’s investigation to look more into what happened. Or if there has been a policy determination made, that bc there has been a claim of authority, there will be no investigation. What is the process for coming to this decision.

MM: Facts come to the attention to the Department that warrant investigation. As of now, investigation into destruction of tapes, if what was on the tapes was barred by torture statute.

Whitehouse: Couldn’t you and I engage in discussion that would at least give cause for discussion.

MM: It would not be concrete discussion.

Whitehouse: In a classified setting it may or may not an "if."


[Long pause]

MM: Not entirely true what that suggests.

[Let me traslate, Mike. Whitehouse has seen evidence of torture. And he’s happily to examine that in a classified setting. Are you man enough for that??]

Whitehouse: I’m trying to not disclose classified information. I don’t think it’s fair to say that nobody has any basis from anywhere. If that’s not enough to raise the first red flag, I don’t know what on earth that could be. Where do we stand, anybody who has a public view says there’s something that might merit investigation.

Whitehouse: no Nuremberg defense built into criminal statute. If you were going to apply it, you’d want to say, what here’s what took place. You’re telling me that nothing in that process bc the certification obviates any investigation regardless of what the facts are.

MM: My position is that there is an ongoing investigation, I’m not going to speculate on what was authorized.

Whitehouse: The investigation has nothing to do with the underlying interrogation.

MM: Depends on Durham.

Whitehouse: Let’s hypothesize.

MM: Let’s not. It’s a question of telling agents out there that we’re investigating CIA based on speculation of what happened.

Whitehouse: I would like to thank you for the re-erection of the firewall between DOJ and WH. Manner in which it was done was excellent. Sorry that we seem to be at loggerheads again on this subject.

MM: This is a good faith exchange. I appreciate that you said.

Kisses all around, Whitehouse and MM make up.

Leahy: I don’t expect an answer here. FOIA, required the office of government information services, which is national archives and record admin, ombudsmen, all those things we talked about, 2009 budget for Administration, attempt to move it into DOJ. Law says to keep it in archives. Those taking notes of our conversation. Would you please look at that.

125 replies
  1. RevDeb says:

    Sheldon: you are not just the WH lackey. You are a prosecutor and prosecutors DO look back. WFT is wrong with you? Remember a thing called “Justice?” Go Sheldon.

  2. Redshift says:

    Check me if I have this interpretation of Mukasey’s exchange with Durbin correct: Even though cruel and inhumane treatment was outlawed, waterboarding might not be outlawed even though I admit it’s cruel because Congress didn’t specifically outlaw waterboarding. But if you did outlaw waterboarding specifically enough, we’d have the CIA change it enough that the specific definition wouldn’t apply, and that would mean that the general prohibition must not apply either.


    God, these guys are evil…

    • jayt says:

      I LOVE that Sheldon is reading the law to the Attorney General of the United States

      ditto – and not just reading – Lecturing!!

      (smiling broadly, here, for the moment)…

  3. jayt says:

    god, I hope Whitehouse takes this to its logical conclusion… (death penalty authorized for those who engage in, or conspire to engage in) – torture.

  4. radiofreewill says:

    Whitehouse: You are not the Corporate Counsel to the President, you are a Prosecutor. It is appropriate to ‘look back’ at past actions in order to determine that Justice shall be done. The Crimes of Torture are Statutory Crimes, and you are the sole Prosecutor for those Crimes.

    Wearing your Prosecutor’s hat, is there an absence of concrete facts and circumstances in the past that makes it so you can’t be an Independent Prosecutor in this case?

  5. skdadl says:

    Bang on. “I was only following orders.” Bingo. Thank you, Senator Whitehouse.

    Mukasey would never use those terms — he knows what they mean — but his legalistic ducking all day amounts to precisely that.

  6. Helen says:

    Muk: I don’t start investigations our of curiosity.

    Oh, he’s just not curious. There’s absolutely no indication that torture took place. Um, Kay

  7. RevDeb says:

    Mucus: no need to investigate, nothing to look at here, move on . . .

    in response to questions about the destruction of tapes of torture—he only cares about the destruction of the tapes, not what was on them.


  8. jayt says:

    Whitehouse is just plain killing (metaphorically, of course) the Attorney General of The United States.

    damn – that was good – anybody got a light?

  9. RevDeb says:

    Round 2. Schumer up. Both good and bad both as he had expected when he voted FOR his confirmation.

    Now trying to justify his awful vote. Not buying it.

  10. jayt says:

    Senator Schumer (temporarily Republican Senator from New York) jumps in – and hey, he may have a teensy bone to pick, after all…

  11. LS says:

    Didn’t he finally say that there is an investigation ongoing that started because of the destruction of the tapes and that the investigation may lead to the actual activities depicted on the tape as being a crime and that the investigation should be allowed to proceed to see where it leads?

  12. Helen says:

    Chuck now back-peddling. He f*cked up. He should have never suggested Mukasey. And now Chuck is acting all hurt. Bush is Lucy and Chuck, is well, Charlie Brown.

  13. radiofreewill says:

    Schumer’s opening statement: “You fucked me over, Murky, you slimy bastard, but that’s okay because now I know who you are.”

  14. Leen says:

    Go Whitehouse. Mukasey making up excuses for the interrogators “I was following orders, I had authorization and I am immune from prosecution”

    Whitehouse…going for the guts.

    Schumer sucking up…what a traitor…he brought us Mukasey

  15. jayt says:

    Mukaey on W-boarding – “I want to be able to imagine, if I can, all of the facts and circumstances in which that might arise.”

    I’m thinking that that could be arranged… – relatively simple, and personal, demonstration. Hey, the guy from CNN did it…

    • jayt says:

      Can we put Whitehouse back on the stand?

      Picking a tiny nit – *Mukasey* is “on the stand”.

      I do find myself wishing, however, that the Chairman had more latitude in allotting more time for questioning to certain Senators…

  16. radiofreewill says:

    Schumer’s question “Should Waterboarding be outlawed?” goes to the heart of Murky’s Integrity – Murky said Torture was ‘Repugnant’ but he can’t say whether Waterboarding is Torture.

    Basically, Schumer is saying: “Are you a Sophist (a clever, but disengenuous debater) like Bush, or a Man of the Law?

    And for the record, says Schumer – “You’ve lost me, Mikey!”

    • bobschacht says:

      “Mukasey clearly believes there are conditions where torture is and can be justified. That is the bottom line.”

      That’s right. As I wrote on another thread earlier today, Mukasey is resisting making a policy pronouncement on torture. Instead, the administration’s position is that it deals with whether or not to torture on a case by case basis, with the final decision being made by Bush &/or Cheney.

      Bob in HI

  17. maryo2 says:

    The next time they recess to go to the floor for a vote, they should, in accordance with rule XXI, move that the Senate go into closed session.

    Just blow this boat out of the water, so to speak. Raise hell. Draw a line in the sand. Get some goddamned MSM coverage. Bush Wants to Torture. Congress should revolt.

  18. leinie says:

    Oh damn. I missed Sheldon (know in the leinie household as my other boyfriend Sheldon. Mr. L takes it well.)

    Thanks for the liveblogging though. Looks like I might have to look for some video.

    • Leen says:

      So a Republican controlled congress forced Clinton to testify under oath about a blowjob. Yet Spector and the rest of his crew do not find enough reasons to require Cheney, Bush Harriet Meiers etc.. to testify under oath in regard to intelligence snowjobs etc.?????

      What congressional oversight? What justice?

  19. Leen says:

    OMG is Spector going to try to use Judy Miller being in jail as a reason for the Shield Law. Christ her bloody lying and manipulation of intelligence and the way her false reports were used by the Bush administration should be a reason for no Shield Laws?

    Why protect journalist who clearly have their own or others agendas that they are promoting in newspapers or on the news. Why protect the Robert Novak’s in the world of Journalism who appear to have purposely undermine national security?

  20. radiofreewill says:

    Mukasey is just as flawed and partisan as Gonzo ever was. He should have No Credibility after this hearing – he’s acting as the President’s Personal Lawyer, which he said he wouldn’t do in his Confirmation Hearing.

  21. BayStateLibrul says:

    How many times does Arlen mention that he was a Philadelphia Lawyer (Prosecutor)?
    Who gives a shit…

    • Evolute says:

      How many times does Arlen mention that he was a Philadelphia Lawyer (Prosecutor)?

      Self delusion, he thinks of himself a key cog with JFK and debunking the grassy knoll.

  22. Helen says:

    Areln talking about what he’ll concede re: Miers, Rove and Bolton. “Contempt citations will amount to nothing but wheel spinning.”
    STFU Arlen.

  23. Mary says:

    I still very much want someone to ask what happened when the “emergency” 72 hour surveillance went to the FISA court and if the procedures implemented were found to have expressly violated the court’s earlier rulings and if the application were found to have been done in bad faith. Cuz I just wonder about things like that.

    There’s not much good in talking about whether or not Mukasey should or shouldn’t have been approved, bc it’s not like anyone “good” would get the nod. What you do have is, at least, someone tougher and stronger than Gonzales, Ashcroft, Thompson, Comey, McNulty, et al who at least was able to “get permission” to assert that waterboarding is now off the list and say it openly and under oath, instead of saying he can’t answer that question.

    The remediation is pretty much proof of the underlying criminality of the program, but at least he not only remediated but has now said openly and publically that the process should be stopped by everyone, including the CIA. It’s not much – but at that, it’s better than what you’ve had from anyone with DOJ before.

    It’s a sad thing to watch someone like Mukasey become such a rag. It wasn’t so sad with Ashcroft and Gonzales, because they had no real claims ever to being much more. Mukasey did, and he gave it all up, apparently to try to actually stop the bleeding. But when you sit next to the bleeding victim and agree that you’ll limit your efforts to pushing on a string, instead of applying direct pressure or a tourniquet, you really are just agreeing to sit with the victim while they die. It’s not all that laudable a thing, to see the hope in their eyes and watch it fade out with the last breaths as you refuse to break you promises not to interfere.

    There are a lot of very haunted, pleading, and ultimately hopeless eyes, surrounding most of these men and women with every breath they take. And none of them, ever, ever, ever makes the effort to stop the bleeding. Only to try to get people to praise them for sitting next to the body.

    I thought it was very interesting that Feingold says in effect that the “new” program that Mukasey is so sold on is also, in his opinion, unConstitutionally torturous and abusive. That without the lack of habeas concerns. And the AG says he can’t publically make known the legal rationale for the abuses that are authorized in “the program”

    God help us.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      Go watch Judgement At Nuremberg, Ernst Janning character is this story.
      We are in for a rough ride from this boy, he is a believer, no guilt
      like the film character.

    • RevDeb says:

      Mary- as eloquent as always.

      The bleeding will continue for a long long time—even after the election, if there is one. Our Constitution has been ripped to shreds and the pieces thrown into the river. Occasionally there may be someone who finds a piece along the banks of the river and dries it out and tries to make use of it, but that won’t be nearly enough to restore the rule of law.

  24. jayt says:

    If Mukasey ever answers a question, could someone please alert me? I’m thinking that he knows damn well that the Senators have only a precious few minutes, and that blathering incoherently uses up that time quite efficiently.

    Hell, at least it was fun to watch Abu lie and squirm – this guy? No joy. No answers. No integrity. No intent to answer a goddamned thing. No personality. No fun. No clue Just killin’ time.

  25. skdadl says:

    Gah. Mukasey’s reading of “separation of powers” has nothing to do with separation of powers. He uses that phrase to defend the supremacy of the executive.

  26. radiofreewill says:

    Arlen asks if the USA in DC should not bring Contempt Charges?

    Murky: A long tradition of accomodation exists to protect the President’s close personal advisors from prosecution.

    In a word, Murky says he won’t support a Contempt Prosecution.

    Why? says Arlen.

    It’s due to a Presidential Executive Order, says Murky. The President has said he doesn’t want to overturn any long-standing traditions.

    How about a transcript of these ‘accomodations’?

    Murky says No, but he doesn’t really know about the transcript issue.

  27. Jeff says:

    Funny little slip by Mukasey. In the context of the investigation of the destruction of the torture tapes, Mukasey said something about it being led by Furman, and then corrected himself in response to Leahy to note that it’s Durham, not Furman.

    Timothy Fuhrman is or was a Section Chief in the FBI who was involved in the CIA leak investigation – presumably among other things, he’s the guy who interviewed Addington in February 2004. I wonder whether he’s involved here.

  28. Mary says:

    63 – I’ve watched, but so very long ago. I need to watch it again. Lately I’ve read Chris Dodd’s book on his father’s letters from Nuremberg. With America’s Dept. Justice now a pro-torture, Executive Branch criminal cover up, private law firm to the inner circle or Republicans and their henchmen who disappear children from parents and fathers from daughters — it’s been a sad thing.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      It is a classic from the old America, the one before the Phoenix Program
      and decades of degenerate behaviors in public life now the new normal.

    • skdadl says:

      As always, Mary, you make me stop to think, and sometimes to cry. I was so glad to hear Senator Whitehouse speak today of Nuremberg. I hope he’s coming back again this afternoon. We have to stop being shy of that historical reference. We’re there — the whole of the Western world is there, although we’ve been simpering around the edges for too long.

      Oh, look! Senator Whitehouse!

  29. LS says:

    Oh shit!! DOJ probably did view the tapes….per Mukasey’s response to Leahy…

    Leahy: Unless some are still there….

  30. jayt says:

    ok – I have now, after a few infuriating hours, come to the conclusion that Mukasey is, by a fairly good margin, more reprehensible than was Abu.

    Hell, at least Abu could somewhat plausibly plead utter stupidity…

  31. Helen says:

    Leahy: Did you speak to the WH aboutthe destruction?

    Muk: I don’t understand the question.

    Yeah – whew that was a hard one.

  32. LS says:

    Leahy’s going to meet with him privately….

    Any discussion between the WH and DOJ regarding destruction of the tapes?…That is something Durham will have to look at.

    Do you have a problem with Durham testifying?


  33. radiofreewill says:

    Mukasey using Durham as a shield for questions on the Torture Tapes, but won’t let Durham testify to SJC about any results from his investigation.

  34. jayt says:

    Leahy – “Do you have a problem with Durham testifying before this Committee?”

    Mukasey – “Hell, yes!”

  35. leinie says:

    What a weasel – he’d have to see the circumstances under which e-mail wasn’t retained?

    Stonewalled by the White House – you, as AG, should ask questions!

    Hit him with the chair, Pat!

  36. RevDeb says:

    Leahy asking about the missing e-mails—there is a law to retain them, would you follow up on what happened to them?

    Mucus: Don’t know the circumstances. Law, what law?

  37. anwaya says:

    Mukasey is like a 9-year old in disguise. He dropped his school cap next to his chair and has a ball of mints and gum covered in fluff in his jacket pocket. He doesn’t want the committee to find out he has a catapult hidden in his back pocket. He doesn’t like these interviews from grownups, at all, they’re very uncomfortable, especially when he doesn’t know what the right answer is.

  38. RevDeb says:

    I don’t know why I/we keep watching this stuff. The good guys are playing a good game of gotcha and are getting him. He stonewalls. Nothing happens nor will anything happen.

    Lucy. Football. Rinse. Repeat.

  39. Mary says:

    I’m guessing the USA’s “conflict” was that he’s on the case in front of Brinkema – and his office – and the former USA there (McNulty) may have whispered a few words to him about what the USA’s office has known during the conduct of that case, in addition to what it knew more recently under Rosenberg – as that office and the full DOJ that it represents made representations to the courts.

    I can guess that others may not have “the same” conflict, if it is based on actual knowledge of false representations to the court(s). Although these days, it seems like most of the DOJ has that same conflict albeit in just different cases, different contexts, different lies to the courts and the American people. And oh yeah – Congress under oath as well.

    MM: I don’t know that. What was done within department is not something I would disclose if I knew it.

    Good to know – even interdepartmental criminal activity won’t be disclosed. Knock me over with a feather.

  40. LS says:

    Mukasey on everything…let bygones be bygones…as long as it isn’t happening now, it doesn’t matter. That is his position on absolutely everything.

  41. perris says:

    been playing some out door srping tennis at the end of january and just got back so I don’t know if anyone saw this but it is a stunning headline from think progress;

    Mukasey On Waterboarding: ‘I Would Feel That It Was’ Torture ‘If It Were Done To Me’ »

    so, if we extrapolate, since we know as a fact this adminsitration not only condoned the practice but insisted on it, and we know as a fact torture is illegal and will consitute a high crime, it’s not torture when done to someone else, just when it’s done to him


    • jayt says:

      Sheldon back up.

      So much fun to see a former USA kickin’ the crap out of what would have been his boss just a few years ago. Taking vicarious pleasure, here, out of Sheldon obviously having himself a good time this afternoon…

  42. TLinGA says:

    These are the questions that should have been asked (and answered) before he was confirmed as AG, period.


  43. Mary says:

    93 – Mukasey and Negroponte on board with that same talking point – let’s not look back, let’s not be retrospective (especially, you know, with people still disappeared, people still in black sites, and human trafficking victims still at GITMO – let’s definitely not look back at how they got there, let’s just go forward and leave them there with no second thoughts – forever).

    Whitehouse nailed it, but the rest of the Dems should hammer on it bc it is the clear theme that is being pushed. A PROSECUTOR’s JOB is to look back.

    Well, these day only to look back at the behaviour of people who aren’t close personal friends in the Dept. or Exec who need cover for their crimes.

    And I guess Mukasey could very validly answer that these days, with the statutes this Congress has passed, a Prosecutor’s job is to prosecute for thought crimes of things that might happen in the future, and that doesn’t leave so much time to go and handle the crimes that might have happened in the past.

  44. LS says:

    Mr. Attorney General…who ate your homework????

    I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter anyway????

    Wrong!!! Who ate your homework??

    Ummm…the dog?? But, I have a new dog…it was the other dog, so it doesn’t matter.

    Wrong!! Where is your homework then…have you done it since??

    No…I thought it was okay not to do it, because it was last week’s homework, and now I have new homework…

    Wrong!!! Do you have a problem if we interview the dog in question???

    Okay, okay…I ate the homework…it was me…I ate it…


  45. Helen says:

    Whitehouse: It is concrete – past crimes count!! Or has there been a policy decision that there will be no investigation? What is the process by which you begin an investigation?

  46. Mary says:

    101 -I’ve been making Canadian calls lately and thinking of you while also trying to figure out which database at NSA I’m ending up in.

    I can’t take much more of this, but with this:

    Because you cannot make this shit up.

    I’ve at least got a chance to go out with a smile.

    Fight the good fight.

    • skdadl says:

      … while also trying to figure out which database at NSA I’m ending up in.

      Heh. I know. I’m putting y’all in danger by communicating with you from an alien entity (aka Canada).

        • skdadl says:

          Too true.

          I honestly don’t know how scared to be any more. Tinfoil is not working. Our police and intel people are kind of incompetent, Keystone Kops, but they still do a lot of damage. And they are enamoured of your intel people, which is hardly encouraging.

  47. Leen says:

    Whitehouse “In a classified setting it may or not be “if”

    I knew someone would nail Mukasey’s comment about “concrete facts and circumstances”

  48. Helen says:

    Whitehouse: Dude, open the freaking torture investigation. What do you need to do so?

    Muk; Depends on whether certification was given.

    Helen who is not a laywer says: How do you know if cert was given if you don’t investigate?

  49. RevDeb says:

    Ah, now we get to it. The classic Bush cop out:

    “There is an ongoing investigation so I will not talk about it.”

    End of story. There will always be ongoing investigations of their illegal activity because so much of what they do is illegal.

    • Rayne says:

      My daughter thinks I’m psychic; I mouthed the words to here, “I can’t discuss it because of an ongoing investigation” just before Mukasey said there’s an ongoing investigation.

      Told her, “Look, Mom didn’t even have to go to Yale to figure that out.”

      Sheesh. How many times are we going to be subjected to this subterfuge?

      Are we going to have to pay third parties (i.e. other countries) to produce the evidence to put these guys away? After Conyer’s comments on video, I have to wonder if they are waiting for the actual smoking gun AND the dead body before they take action.

    • jayt says:

      There will always be ongoing investigations of their illegal activity because so much of what they do is illegal.

      Brilliant really, in the most disgusting sort of way…

      Today’s crimes are tomorrow’s old news. “Let’s just move on, shall we?”

    • emptywheel says:

      Sorry, I make it a practice to adhere to longstanding, well-deserved nicknames for these goofballs. If you were John and he was John, I’d still call you both John.

  50. LS says:

    Mukasey…as long as there was appropriate certification and a firm legal base to approve torture….we won’t investigate whether it occurred or not, i.e., if Bush said it was okay, and Bybee said it was okay, it was okay, and there is no reason to look at it any further, whether it was depicted on the tapes or not.

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