Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on Tuesday defended the decision of his current successor, Eric H. Holder Jr., to investigate alleged prisoner abuse by CIA interrogators over President Obama’s desire to look forward.
"As chief prosecutor of the United States, he should make the decision on his own, based on the facts, then inform the White House," said Mr. Gonzales, who was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in 2005 and resigned in 2007.
(He goes on to say that if people exceeded guidelines, it is fair to punish them.)
And who can blame Fredo? Nora Dannehy is still investigating whether Alberto Gonzales politicized DOJ, picking and choosing cases and US Attorneys for political reasons. This offers an opportunity for him to defend the independence of the Attorney General, even if his statement contradicts all his actions in that position. It looks good, you know?
I’m particularly curious whether Gonzales’ statement is designed to forestall investigation in his role both in 2005 (when, the torture apologists claim, with only some accuracy, DOJ investigated but did not pursue these abuses) and/or his alleged role much earlier in the process, giving day to day approval for techniques used by the torturers?
I will say this though: welcome, AGAG! Let’s hear more from you on the importance of DOJ independence. Not because your words have any credibility. But because it suggests you might be willing to say more–much more–to defend yourself in the face of those who refused you a sinecure.