Durham to be Torture Special Prosecutor

And thus the whitewash starts.

Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

Durham’s mandate, the sources added, will be relatively narrow: to look at whether there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale criminal investigation of current and former CIA personnel who may have broken the law in their dealings with detainees. Many of the harshest CIA interrogation techniques have not been employed against terrorism suspects for four years or more.

As I said in my panel at Netroots Nation, we’ll know a lot about whether Holder intends to do a real investigation, or just a whitewash investigating the Lynndie Englands, by the stature of the prosecutor he names. And while Durham is already neck deep in the investigation of torture on the torture tapes, he doesn’t necessarily have the stature to go after–say–Jim Haynes and John Rizzo for setting up the torture regime.

I guess Holder wasn’t that serious about investigating torture after all. 

87 replies
  1. drational says:

    Will we know more about the degree of whitewash when we get the redactions in the OIG report in an hour or so? Wishful thinking, but it may be difficult to restrict mandate if they simultaneously release enough data to further implicate the chain of command.

  2. Jkat says:

    let us not overlook david addington ..and imo .. there is no way the chain of command upward can possibly escape scrutiny .. nor should they ..

  3. perris says:

    I have one hope, to which I posted downstairs;

    I’d like to point something out that everyone needs to consider;

    I do not believe the professionals in the cia were on board with the torture program anyway, just like the fbI I think they might have washed their hands of the program

    if that’s true then it’s only team b that was involved and I think most of the cia are gonna be happy when team b gets investigated and if THAT’S true then the cia might not even allow a white wash, they might willingly flock to the investigator, arms open with data they could not reveal before the investigation

    don’t forget, they still owe cheney/bush for exposing valery et all

    I really wish we could get valery or joe to talk about this but they are obviously restricted from these conversations

  4. TheraP says:

    If a prosecutor’s mandate is narrow, can a Grand Jury choose to widen that? Assuming of course that a Grand Jury gets involved down the road.

    I’m just wondering about loopholes in the mandate of a prosecutor. bmaz? EW legal beagles?

    Otherwise it looks like opening a door that is chained from the other side – so that it can never really open far enough to get a person through it!

  5. MadDog says:

    And from MSNBC:

    A newly declassified CIA report says interrogators threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect.

    The document, released Monday by the Justice Department, says one interrogator said a colleague had told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that if any other attacks happened in the United States, “We’re going to kill your children…”

    • GregB says:

      Ah, the smell of morality in the air.

      Sick, rotten scoundrels.

      I can hear Lee Greenwood clearing his throat.


  6. perris says:

    A newly declassified CIA report says interrogators threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect.

    here’s the funny thing about that, I SWEAR I heard that story a long time ago

    • emptywheel says:

      Okay, but you’ve got to come up with suggestions for how we push forward on this.

      I’m also wondering whether the scope (which seems to be looking at Iraq and Afghanistan, not the black sites) will focus more on employees than on the Mitchell and Jessen types.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Hmmm … lessee now, we find a genius investigative blogger to boldly go where no man one has gone before
        and send links to her blogs, to every member of the SJC until the Cows come home.

      • Leen says:

        Sorry to hear this Durham guy is not of the stature that you and the lawyer folks here at FDL feel is up to snuff.

        Could he surprise folks or is this truly an effort to “whitewash”

        • watercarrier4diogenes says:

          Sheldon Whitehouse has a very high opinion of him. Seems they worked together when Whitehouse was in the Rhode Island USA office (was the USA? or an AUSA?) and Durham was an investigator in the Connecticut USA office.

          Good line from Jane Mayer about torturing KSM. “They could have just bought a copy of his interview with Al Jazeera and found out all of that.

          Powell’s former Chief of Staff Wilkerson makes the point that if they’re worried about demoralizing the CIA, they should be thinking of the 98% of CIA employees that are being demoralized by watching the 2% get away with torture.

          • bmaz says:

            Whitehouse sang the same bubbly praise about Durham when he was first assigned the torture tape investigation nearly two years ago; Durham still hasn’t been able to find the patently obvious crimes that are standing right in front of him. I love Whitehouse and all, but I am not biting on this happy talk from him.

  7. Andersonblogs says:

    I guess Holder wasn’t that serious about investigating torture after all.

    I’m sorry, but without more basis than you’ve provided, that’s a pretty crappy thing to write about John Durham. I don’t know the man, but why would you infer that Durham would not be serious in conducting his investigation?

    • bmaz says:

      He has earned that from being unable to find chargeable criminal conduct from the torture tape investigation, a situation where you would need a helmet to keep criminally chargeable conduct from hitting you in the head. That’s why. Durham hasn’t earned squat so far, and his limited mandate means he isn’t going to go very far here, and that is assuming he can even find it within himself to charge anyone at all.

    • Garrett says:

      I just found this old March 2003 article about KSM and his children, what they told us at the time.

      The boys have been held by the Pakistani authorities but this weekend they were flown to America where they will be questioned about their father. CIA interrogators confirmed that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father’s activities. “We are handling them with kid gloves,” said one official. “After all, they are only little children, but we need to know as much about their father’s recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care.”

      Mohammed, 37, is being held in solitary confinement at the Bagram US military base in Afghanistan. He is being subjected to “stress and duress” interrogation techniques.

      He has been told that his sons are being held and is being urged to divulge future attacks against the West and reveal the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

      “He has said very little so far,” a CIA official said on Saturday. “He sits in a trance-like state and recites verses from the Koran. But while he may claim to be a devout Muslim, we know he is fond of the Western-style fast life. His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him.”

    • Mary says:

      Threats of rape appear to have been deemed especially patriotic – and I guess they could patriotically outsource that too. The implicit threat to Higazy on having Egyptian intel pick up his sister was rape; al-Libi’s CIA (ex-FBI) agent bragged about how he would be raping al-Libi’s mother; GITMO detainees were told their family members were going to be raped, etc. With KSM’s children, remember that the Egyptian approach was enthralling the CIA, and the Egyptian approach had already involved sodomizing and taking pictures of the sodomy of young boys who were the children of some of Zawahiri’s followers.

      @37 – A couple of points. One is that after the Yoo memo the importance of the child psychologist takes on a differnt significance, since exams by a psychologist were the condition precedent to start torture. Also, one of the detainees, Majid Khan, who they tried desparately to prevent from being able to speak with his own lawyers about what happened during his captivity has a story about KSM’s children and how they were tortured at a camp where he was held.

      But the children and the wife disappear from print pretty much after early 2003. And no one in the msm ever even asks a question about them; no one on any intel committee mentions them (despite the invesitations and hearings re: Arar for example) and there’s not even a next friend filing anywhere on their behalf.

  8. scribe says:

    Yes, the threat was communicated to KSM.

    Funny, how it is that his kids have not been seen nor heard frm in years. Maybe they really killed them, just to show they were serious. As I recall it, some of the prior info which came out acouple months ago (the bugs in a box stuff) lent itslef ot the conclusion that they had, in fact, put KSM’s kids in a box with bugs to get them to rat out where their dad was.

    And, don’t forget, that John Yoo said – in Congressional testimony, no less – that crushing a child’s testicles could be a lawful order for a President to give, depending on what the PResident was trying to accomplish.

  9. emptywheel says:

    Because it’s not about Durham at all. It’s abotu the scope and design of the investigation. And the fact that Durham ultimately has at least 4 bosses over him who will have signifcant say in where this goes.

  10. joanneleon says:

    Isikoff on MSNBC right now — Shuster said Isikoff has been reviewing the newly released documents. Do they get released to the press first, before being posted on line?

  11. joanneleon says:

    Isikoff: there are still significant redacted portions. Thinks people will be disappointed.

    Report says that the AG was aware of repeated waterboarding. Isikoff says this fact is going to make it very difficult to prosecute those who did it.

      • joanneleon says:

        That would make sense, phred, so clearly, it won’t happen.

        Glenn’s post has a title that says it all:
        “Eric Holder announces investigation based on Abu Grahib model”

        So far, in the news, on MSNBC anyway, the focus is on the people who ordered this and not so much on the people who actually did it. Of course, CNN (and MSNBC to some extent) are more focused on Michael Jackson and Obama’s trip to Martha’s Vineyar. I wondered why they chose today to release this stuff and announce the investigation.

  12. phred says:

    Durham and “narrow”. Not. Good. Enough.

    They really don’t get it do they? I don’t see any pivoting going on anywhere. I can’t wait to hear how “shocked, shocked” the Dems will be the day after the election next year. Morons.

  13. allan says:

    Threatening to kill a suspected terrorist’s children is of course a plot element from 24:

    Jack then has video monitors brought in and shows live images of Ali’s wife and two boys held prisoners abroad. Jack threatens to kill the oldest boy if Ali doesn’t reveal where the bomb is.

    Q: which came first, the neocon fantasy or the actual nightmare?

  14. Andersonblogs says:

    He has earned that from being unable to find chargeable criminal conduct from the torture tape investigation

    That’s the kind of factual basis I had in mind, tho I hadn’t realized that the investigation was over.

    Any prosecutor with any character would follow his investigation where it leads, and resign if improperly pressured. Without some reason to think Durham lacks that character, I’m not concerned about whether he’s bureaucratically independent.

    As for complaints that being reality-based is “trolling” … pooh.

    • bmaz says:

      Naw, I did not consider you a troll, it was a reasonable question if you are not a regular here. Durham had made statements that he was wrapping up the torture tape investigation and had found no basis for charges, but then extended it after getting some more info as a result of Dusty Foggo’s plea. He has been back in front of the grand jury since then, but again today, sources within or near his investigation team reiterated, as reported in the WaPo that there was not a likelihood of criminal charges. So that is the basis of my statements on that. Plus it has been nearly two years and I simply do not see how you cannot find false statements and obstruction charges there; it defies credulity.

    • Mary says:

      Any prosecutor with any character would follow his investigation where it leads,

      That’s not how it happens in special prosecutor appointments. Pretty much by definition, these guys are operating outside of the area where they would normally have investigative and prosecutorial jurisdiction. For example, if Durham was in Boston, dealing with a Boston based crime, he could follow it around and about wherever it went, that included Boston ties. But where you get a special task force or special prosecution mandate outside of your area of typical authority, a prosecutor can’t just follow the investigations where they lead – instead, the prosecutor has to stay within the four corners of the mandate.

      • Leen says:

        “But where you get a special task force or special prosecution mandate outside of your area of typical authority, a prosecutor can’t just follow the investigations where they lead – instead, the prosecutor has to stay within the four corners of the mandate.”

        so within those” four corners of the mandate” when the prosecutor finds that crimes were committed beyond the prescribed mandate …is that when Durham would say this investigation needs to be widened?

        • RevBev says:

          Good NPR interview with Scott Horton. He states, and elaborates, that he prosecutor can & must where the facts lead him, including to the policy makers, or the White House. Very good discussion.

          • Leen says:


            Why do the mucky mucks wonder why there is so much disrespect for the law. Let the Bush administration criminals walk (well maybe not only time will tell)

            and Peltier is refused parole because “The US Parole Commission told the sixty-four-year-old Peltier on Friday that his release would “depreciate the seriousness of [his] offenses” and “promote disrespect for the law.” It was Peltier’s first full parole hearing in fifteen years, and he will not be eligible for parole again until July 2024, at the age of seventy-nine.”


  15. bmaz says:

    Alright folks, here is the language straight out of Eric Holder’s mouth, i.e. official press release. For those all excited by big Bull Durham, take a gander at what his scope is in the highlighted portion:

    “The Office of Professional Responsibility has now submitted to me its report regarding the Office of Legal Counsel memoranda related to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. I hope to be able to make as much of that report available as possible after it undergoes a declassification review and other steps. Among other findings, the report recommends that the Department reexamine previous decisions to decline prosecution in several cases related to the interrogation of certain detainees.

    “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.”

    • Mary says:

      When is someone going to ask Holder or Obama if there conviction to look forward means they are going to tell Fitzgerald to drop the Burge case and, if not, why looking back is ok with IL police torture of black men, but not so much CIA/military torture of Islamic men, women and children.

      Anyway – keep those “preliminaries” going long enough, as they already have on so many things, and insure the destruction of more evidence, the deaths and incapacities of witnesses, the expiration of SOLs, and the intervention of the chaos theory.

      • perris says:

        When is someone going to ask Holder or Obama if there conviction to look forward means they are going to tell Fitzgerald to drop the Burge case and, if not, why looking back is ok with IL police torture of black men, but not so much CIA/military torture of Islamic men, women and children.

        nicely done mary, that question would cut obama to the quick

      • Petrocelli says:

        Excellent question ! I’ve e-mailed ObamaCo twice and not gotten any response, so I won’t waste my time with them unless I find a direct line into the Oval Office.

      • bmaz says:

        It gets better. The “preliminary” is a defined process with a 30 day time limit, after which it must be specifically petitioned to keep open for another 30 days, up to a maximum of 90 days. They already have more information contained in the IG and OPR Reports than is contemplated by a preliminary review. This is bullshit.

        • Petrocelli says:

          Honest question: Is there any way that we can take this and push Obama/Holder for a real investigation ?

          I find it incredible that Feingold, Whitehouse and everyone on the SJC will let this slide.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      So, we really don’t have a prosecutor, but a govt atty conducting a “preliminary review” to “determine whether there is sufficient predication to warrant a full investigation of [the] matter.”

      Hmmm… with so much going on, I’m only getting to the “prosecutor” issue now. Plenty of room here to jog around awhile and decide later what exactly to do. Or am I wrong to consider this not yet an investigation, or appointment of a prosecutor per se?

  16. melior says:

    Jawad one step closer to free?

    Mohammed Jawad, whose confession to throwing a hand grenade that wounded two U.S. soldiers was rejected as coerced by torture, was helicoptered into Kabul from Bagram Air Base and taken to the office of the Afghan attorney general.

    One of his defense attorneys, Marine Major Eric Montalvo, said Jawad then met with President Hamid Karzai and was scheduled to be released to an uncle.

    ”It’s still not over until he can walk free, but he is almost there,” said Montalvo, who flew as a private citizen to Afghanistan after the Pentagon refused him permission to witness his client’s release. ”I don’t trust anything until I see him in his house with his family.”

  17. SanderO says:

    I am curious about why no one is talking when they have been gagged by using the State Secrets Privilege and who may know about criminal activity.

    I would think that once they let the cat out of the bag… the outrage of the public and the court would blunt any prosecution which would look like the gag order was placed to cover crimes or protect some guilty parties.

    Sibel Edmonds was gagged, then she testified and they DOJ did nothing after all these years.

    Isn’t that a signal of some sort?

  18. SanderO says:

    The problem with investigation of the CIA, the FBI, and so on is that undoubtedly it will reveal illegal (criminal) behavior and there would be a demand for more oversight.

    My sense is that people with a badge or CIA, FBI tag regularly break the law. They don’t want the people to know the truth.

    And as they like to say… America is a nation at war…

  19. alinaustex says:

    [email protected] ,
    Perhaps I am being very naive ,but I still believe in the end Durham will make us all proud -and if not – then it will be very hard not to be cynical , jaded, and extremely disappointed . So just as they taught years ago in some beginners meetings that were court mandated –some of us had to take– that “denial is not a river in Egypt “-perhaps I should denounce my denial about the co-opting of Durham -But not just yet ,lets see where this goes for a little while longer -I am just not prepared to be that cynical and that hopeless -just yet .
    Who knows maybe all three or four of Durham’s bosses don’t want a whitewash either –
    (Okay bmaz I’ve got my protected eyewear on -awaiting your predictable reply ..)

    • phred says:

      I suppose that depends on whether this is used as a fig leaf so that criminals remain free to sit on the bench and teach law to students in CA, or whether this is just the crowbar we need to open the door.

      That said, I am getting mightily tired of the false equivalence of ass-covering shams v. nothing. We do not live in a binary world, there are myriad solutions to problems most of which are profoundly better than the ones our elected officials foist upon us.

      Whether it is a crappy climate change bill, a crappy health care reform bill, a crappy stimulus package, etc., at what point do we demand (and succeed!!!) at getting the best possible solution, rather than another example of something that can only be described as “better than nothing”. Nothing is nothing. It doesn’t take much to be not nothing. It is high time we demand more. A lot more.

    • Nell says:

      This is worse than nothing. It implicitly enshrines the Yoo and Bybee memos as “law” by limiting consideration of prosecution to those who went beyond them.

      We have scapegoat convictions of ‘point of the spear’ actual torturers already, thanks very much. We don’t need more. We need prosecution of those who initiated, authorized, and “legalized” a policy of torture. The only argument anyone has ever had in favor of the hypothetical Holder initiative is that it could lead to higher-ups. It seems quite clear that fences are being placed around this “investigation” to prevent that from happening.

      So how is it not actually worse than nothing? No matter what comes out of it, it will be used to defend Obama/Holder from accusations of having done nothing for accountability — despite actually deepening the culture of impunity at the top, where it’s the most poisonous.

  20. BMcGarth says:

    Isn’t it alway the case where the people on the lower end of the ladder gets,the s..t in their face whilist the ones on the upper rung walk away s..t free.

    But most of all Holder is ineffectual as AG.Holder’s plea on the Marc Reich’ pardon,”I have learnt from my mistake”,was all a sham to get confirmed AG.He knew what he was doing then and he is doing all he can to sugar coat torture ordered by those at the highest level of Govt now.How shameful but not surprising.

    • Leen says:

      “always the case” people in prison for 25 years for cultivating marijuana…dropping some papers off at our county court house this summer talked to a young lady who was 22 in an orange jail suit, shackles on her wrist and ankles. Her two year old daughter was there with the young ladies mother, (grandmother to the 2 year old). This young woman had been in jail for over a week for possession of marijuana (do not know how much).

      She will have done more time than any of the people who ordered torture laws to be rewritten, those who wrote the torture laws or those who tortured.

      The folks at the top should not wonder why the peasants in this country have little to no faith in our so called justice system.

      We are watching…whether Holder means what he has said so many times “no one is above the law”

      Does Durham really believe “no one is above the law”

      I want to believe

  21. tbsa says:

    I guess Holder wasn’t that serious about investigating torture after all.

    Did anyone really think Holder was going to pursue a legitimate investigation? Aiding and Abetting, nice…..

  22. KarenM says:

    Apparently, a recent Twitter frenzy was pretty embarrassing to an airline recently when they had a number of very unhappy passengers.

    Obama (or someone who Tweets for him) is also on Twitter, as are many of our elected officials.

    What about a campaign to tweet, re-tweet, and so on… ?

  23. fatster says:

    Rendition of Terror Suspects Will Continue Under Obama
    Published: August 24, 2009

    WASHINGTON — “The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terror suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but will monitor their treatment to ensure they are not tortured, administration officials said on Monday.

    “The administration officials, who announced the changes on condition that they not be identified, said that unlike the Bush administration, they would give the State Department a larger role in assuring that transferred detainees would not be abused.

    . . .

    “The new unit, to be called the High Value Interrogation Group, will be comprised of analysts, linguists and other personnel from the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies who will contribute expertise to interrogations. The group will operate under policies set by the National Security Council.

    “The officials said all interrogations will comply with guidelines contained in the Army Field Manual, which outlaws the use of physical force. The new interrogation group will study interrogation methods, however, and may add additional non-coercive methods in the future, the officials said.”


  24. SPiHC says:

    “Durham, a career prosecutor and registered Republican, has served as the No. 2 to four U.S. attorneys in Connecticut — two Democrats and two Republicans. Friends describe him as nonpartisan and driven by a strong sense of morality that paid off in cases against violent criminals.”

    Many have suggested that Durham isn’t hard nosed enough to truly pursue the facts.

    His background seems to suggest him a competent and capable special prosecutor.

    For a brief overview of his previous public legal work — http://www.specialprosecutorjohndurham.com/

  25. PPDCUS says:

    I always thought this song was about the CIA & NSA burning down the republic from within.

    And Nero keeps on fiddlin’.

  26. Gitcheegumee says:


    I have been working all day.

    Anybody posted this yet?

    Apparently der Spiegel is all over the Blackwater stories.(Dated today)

    Merchants of Death: Memo Reveals Details of Blackwater Targeted …Aug 24, 2009 … A US district court will decide this week whether one of the darkest chapters of the Bush era, the relationship between the administration …
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/&…..71,00.html – 14 hours ago – Similar

    • bmaz says:

      There isn’t squat in that “big expose” that wasn’t in their “previews” with the possible exception of the airplane tail numbers, which is pretty tangential information.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        “Big Expose’”is YOUR terminology.

        More’s the pity that the US media isn’t doing ANY expose’-much less a BIG EXPOSE- on the IG report.

        • bmaz says:

          Big expose is indeed my terminology; but you gotta admit, they sure pumped it up to be more than it was. They gave the whole thing out in teasers and there was nothing new in the real deal. And you are right about our media, the patently obvious about Michael Jackson is currently getting equal play with Holder and IG Report combined.

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            After being in depositions all day,and unable to check on the IG docs,I was STUNNED to see next to NADA in the MSM,even on a cursory review of my favorite blog spots.

            Michael Jackson(!)

            As my ex quite tersly commented years ago on the death of Elvis,it was the best career move he ever made.

            Now that’s harsh, but voluntarily negative lifestyle choices are a far different animal that involuntary torture and treason.

            • Leen says:

              Chris matthews just had Bob Baer and Tyler Drumheller on. Both said investigation should go full steam ahead. The law was clearly broken

              Micheal Jackson story came up first on Hardball tonight

  27. timbo says:

    I guess Holder was having a hard time figuring out how to explain the “do nothing” position on this issue to his friends and relatives…so we get this instead. Still, he did leave open the possibility that this investigation will reach into the DoJ officials who covered this all up and tried to slap a legal band-aid on something that was calling our laws to bleed to death on a cold cement floor.

  28. robspierre says:

    Can anyone explain WHY the Obama administration is so intent on preventing investigation and prosecution of the Bush administration? None of the explanations seem convincing to me. And enough damning information is already out to make any association with these policies dangerous politically, if not legally.

    Sure, there would be some political uproar over a fair investigation, but mostly from people who don’t count for much politically these days (i.e. Republicans). And if anyone in the administration is or could be perceived to be complicit, the best CYA at this point would be to prosecute the daylights out of someone more culpable than you.

    So what gives?

    • human says:

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

      A truly honest investigation would implicate nearly every member of this administration, congress and senate and many of those going back some 50 – 60 years. There is no statute of limitations on murder.

  29. Gitcheegumee says:


    This is what I call pre-emptive strike against future”unpleasantness” with potentially pesky PR issues:

    Continuity Über Alles: Massaging the Message in Afghanistan
    Written by Chris Floyd
    Monday, 24 August 2009 08:39

    Continuity, continuity, in all things, continuity.

    This has been the battle cry of Barack Obama’s administration, especially when it comes to waging the Terror Wars — and trying to manipulate public opinion about these intractable conflicts.
    As Stars and Stripes reports, Obama is paying millions to a shadowy PR firm to “vet” the political leanings of journalists reporting on his ever-expanding “Af-Pak War.” This happens to be the same PR firm used by the Bush-Cheney regime to help mislead the nation into the murderous war of aggression against Iraq: the Rendon Group. S&S:

    As more journalists seek permission to accompany U.S. forces engaged in escalating military operations in Afghanistan, many of them could be screened by a controversial Washington-based public relations firm contracted by the Pentagon to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light.

    U.S. public affairs officials in Afghanistan acknowledged to Stars and Stripes that any reporter seeking to embed with U.S. forces is subject to a background profile by The Rendon Group, which gained notoriety in the run-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq for its work helping to create the Iraqi National Congress. That opposition group, reportedly funded by the CIA, furnished much of the false information about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion.

    {Excerpt,Empire Burlesque website}

  30. Gitcheegumee says:


    Man who sold Iraq war now vetting embedded journos: report
    By Daniel Tencer

    Published: August 24, 2009
    Updated 5 hours ago

    A public relations firm that organized the opposition to Saddam Hussein during the 1990s and “coerced” journalists during the run-up to the Iraq war is now vetting at least some embedded journalists in war zones to keep out those who have a history of writing negative stories about the US military, a new report claims.

    “Any reporter seeking to embed with US forces is subject to a background profile by The Rendon Group, which gained notoriety in the run-up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq for its work helping to create the Iraqi National Congress,” the military newspaper Stars & Stripes reports.


    According to the Center for Media and Democracy, John Rendon is married to Sandra Libby, the sister of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who in 2007 was convicted on obstruction of justice charges in the Valerie Plame affair.

    In that case, Libby was alleged to have leaked sensitive CIA information about former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, to the media in contravention of secrecy laws. Libby was not convicted on that charge, but rather on charges of obstructing the investigation into the matter.

  31. Gitcheegumee says:

    Raw Story » Man who sold Iraq war now vetting embedded journos: reportMan who sold Iraq war now vetting embedded journos: report; » Pentagon may have been ordered to cover up investigations, columnist says …
    rawstory.com/…/iraq-war-salesman-now-vetting-journos/ – 6 hours ago – Similar

  32. OldFatGuy says:

    Wow, what a coincidence that Holder does this on the same day the IG report is released to the public.

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