Holder Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Committee

The Committee feed is screwy right now, but cspan.org is carrying it. Pat Leahy will not be there today; he’s at a funeral. I don’t know if Herb Kohl (who will act as Chair) had an opening statement or not. But Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is up now whining about civilian trials.

(Incidentally, at 10, the House Judiciary Commitee will have Glenn Fine and Valerie Caproni talking about the Exigent Letter IG Report. I’ll do my best to keep my eye on that too.)

Sessions apparently doesn’t know there was a hearing last week in a military commission, which basically consisted of everyone looking at each other and admitting that MCs have no rules right now.

Here’s Holder’s statement.

Holder: 19 USA nominees and 17 Marshal nominees pending.

Holder now listing all the terrorists prosecuted in civilian courts.

Use every tool available. Includes both civilian and military commissions. Referred 6 cases to military commissions. It would seriously weaken national security not to have civilian trials.

9/11 Commission trial. No decision yet.

Kohl: Review of 240 detainees. In your testimony did not mention if and when you plan to close Gitmo. Update?

Holder: Still intention to close Gitmo. Once was bipartisan support for closing it. Both men who ran for President last year supported closing Gitmo. Will close as soon as we can.

Holder basically says they intend to use Thompson to hold people indefinitely.

Kohl raises Holder’s comment about reading Miranda rights to Osama bin Laden.

Kohl: Do you still believe civilian trials are better? When can this decision be made.

Holder: Reviewing decision. NY is not off the table. Have to take into consideration concerns raised by local community. Expect to be able to make determination in a number of weeks.

Sessions: Admin had been slow in making those nominations. I think if you look at where delays are are lack of nominations. You said 9/11 would be tried in NY. Caused quite a bit of controversy. I understand now WH suggesting that would be tried in NY. Makes me uncomfortable having politicians discussing where it’ll be tried. What is your position. Are you uneasy that WH is leaking statements about where it will take place.

Holder: Not sure if there have been leaks. National Security Team deciding. SecDef, SoS, Intelligence Community. Meet w/President every Tuesday. This is a trial that is unique. It does involve national security concerns.

Sessions: There is a venue problem.

Holder: You’re obviously a former US Attorney. If possibility that we move the trial, what would the possible venues be. What I will say is that SDNY is much larger place than simply Manhattan. Trying case in other venues beyond NY.

Sesssions, after having said he doesn’t want pols to decide where to have trials, is now criticizing Holder for making the decision w/o listening to Sessions.

Holder: Not many differences between civ and MC, biggest difference is interlocutory appeals. Much of other enhancements reflect what judges do on civ side.

Sesssions: when you try someone in civ court, lawyer, Miranda, discovery, when you hold them in MC, don’t have to charge them at all, POW, until over. They may be tried if you choose to try them.

Holder: Decisions based on what is best. Whole variety of concepts and things that have to be taken into consideration. Case by case basis, being most effective in particular trial.

DiFi: Degree to which this dialogue has escalated is unhealthy. Dems did not do to Bush following 9/11 wrt decision-making. I find it reprehensible. Best interest of the people of this nation, served by Admin, and the President having maximum flexibility as to which venue these defendants will be tried. I have never seen anything quite like this. It doesn’t matter that MCs which have been fraught w/controversy have convicted 3, two of whom are out. Doesn’t matter that Zazi will plead guilty.I was mayor in the wake of a major assassination. I know what happens in a city w/major scar tissue. Indefinite detention?

Holder: People we decide should be held under laws of war, judge has ability to see whether detention appropriate. We have won some cases, we have not been successful with others. Some of people ordered released by judges have been released. We use that power with thought of keeping American people safe. If you look at number of people at Gitmo, number of people we would seek to detain relatively small.

DiFi: Children subject to detention. We’ve had no response to that.

Hatch: Why revise prosecutorial guidelines on marijuana. Specific intention of making dangerous drugs illegal. Not WH’s vision of how controlled substances act should be enforced. Impending deadline of Adam Walsh Act.

Hatch wants more obscenity prosecutions.

Hatch: Undiebomber. You alone made this decision.

Between Hatch and Sessions, they should have practiced how to say “Abdulmutallab’s” name. Woe betide them if we get around to talking about Anwar al-Awlaki, that’s even harder to pronounce.

Holder: Decision has been shown to be the right one. The information that he has since provided as result of his decision to cooperate.

Feingold: Well aware of my support for federal trials. Continued strength. I have a statement that discusses that, asked to be place in record. COPs.

Here’s what Feingold’s statement for the record said about the 9/11 trials:

As members of this committee are aware, I strongly support the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 plotters in our federal criminal courts.  We have a great track record of successfully trying and convicting terrorists in civilian courts.  The military commission system is largely untested, and these cases could easily get bogged down in years of legal challenges. The best way to bring these terrorists to justice swiftly is through our civilian courts.  It has been nine years since 9/11, and it is inexcusable that these men have not yet been brought to justice for what they did.

Whatever one might think of using the military commission system, it is simply not yet ready to start handling prosecutions.  The Military Commissions Act requires that the Secretary of Defense issue rules to govern those proceedings, and that has not yet happened.  It hardly seems possible to start using military commissions without the rule book.  The military commission system is also the subject of a constitutional challenge in the D.C. Circuit that is at only the beginning stages of litigation, and anyone charged in a military commission prosecution could bring yet another legal challenge to the system itself before any trial begins.  In fact, when a military commission defendant named Salim Ahmed Hamdan challenged a prior version of the military commission system, his case wound up in the Supreme Court after years of litigation.  It strikes me as not only possible, but very likely, that the first few military commission trials will be subjected to legal challenges, and that any trials would not begin for several years.

The federal criminal system, on the other hand, is available now.  It has been tested for literally hundreds of years, and we know it works because hundreds of people are sitting in federal prison today after being convicted of terrorism crimes in our federal courts.  We know that our federal judges and prosecutors have the experience needed to take on these cases because they’ve done it, again and again.  Indeed, the Department has achieved significant successes in the Zazi and Headley cases just in the past few months.  Both were serious terrorism cases, and in both cases the Department used the criminal justice system to obtain intelligence and ultimately guilty pleas.  So I support the Attorney General’s decision and believe it is the best decision for the security of this country.

Grassley: Thanks for anti-trust hearings on Ag. [Feingold also raised this.] People who represented detainees. Your staff refuses to give information, but DOJ managed to verify for Fox News. Call into integrity of employees of department. I agree w/department’s view that personal attacks inappropriate. Inquiry seeks to understand who is advising you on these issues.

Holder: I know that your request comes from good place. Hesitance I had has been borne out. Drag their reputations through the mud. Reprehensible ads used to question their patriotism. I’m not going to be a part of that effort. Their names are out there, it has been placed in public record. I will not allow good decent lawyers, done what John Adams did, done what our Chief Justice has said is what is good.

Grassley: Request from this committee. Recently said that attorneys representing unpopular people patriots, doubt you’d say same about those representing mafia. Does not keep central database of recusals. You know large lawfirms have conflict committees to ensure that rules are followed. Why shouldn’t DOJ have some centralized system of conflicts as private firms have.

Holder: Legitimate concern.

Grassley: FOI. Presidential Memoranda on FOI.FY 2009, Agencies cited FOI exceptions more than FY2008. B5 used 70,000 times, compared to 47,000 times in 2008.

Durbin: Courageous position to take, and the right one, SCOTUS ruled that detainees had right to habeas, Bush admin, right to counsel. Inspiration in Fox news. If anyone decides to represent Gitmo detainee, can’t be trusted. If legal representation or possible inclinations toward one party or another, where does it end? You’re standing up for a fundamental principle that does go back to John Adams. Men and women who’ve had the courage to stand up. I hope the record will reflect, it was Bush Admin that said Gitmo detainees had right to counsel. Miranda warnings. A lot of question about using Article III Courts, for fear of Miranda warnings. Policy of Bush?

Holder: I think a good case can be made that once people get Miranda information can flow. Especially in terrorism cases, and the lengthy sentences in Article III hearings.

Durbin: Richard Reid. How long after he was detained by Bush DOJ was it before given Miranda.

Holder: A few minutes.

Durbin: Five minutes.

Durbin: Those who are arguing that we have to shift to MC side would have to explain why we’d put aside this history of success.

Holder: Article III court can plead guilty to capital offense.

Lindsey Graham: President Obama has said we’re at war with al Qaeda. Some people don’t believe in that. Times when Article III court would be superior. Financier, more charging capabilities.

Holder confirms 48 detainees slotted for indefinite detention.

Lindsey: Lindsey now complaining that Robertson supported Slahi’s habeas petition. If presumption should follow al Qaeda, once you’re a member, presumption that you’re still a member of al Qaeda. One reason why Congress needs to be more involved.

Lindsey: If you send new detainees to Afghanistan, you’re going to bring down Afghan government.

Schumer: Want to reaffirm how difficult it would be to have trial in densely populated area.

Holder: It has not been ruled out. Would take into consideration.

Cardin [who calls it “Guantamano”]: Asks about making review for indefinite detention transparent so international community can see it. Holder says he’s working w/interagency, and also Graham.

Cardin: If we don’t put sunlight on it, if we don’t engaged intl community, this war’s not going to end anytime soon.

Holder: need to deal with it on symbolic level.

Of course, what remains unsaid is that the REASON why Abu Zubaydah and al-Qahtani can’t be tried is because we tortured them into insanity.

Cornyn: Financial crisis, border, healthcare fraud. Criminal prosecution can be deterrent . One thing that’s been missing is show trials.

Holder: Madoff, other ponzi.

Cornyn: Who is coordinating investigation?

Holder: Me, financial task force.

Franken: Merger of Comcast and NBC. Want to delve into it a little bit. Concerned because I see potential of consolidation of media that is very frightening. Want the best for NBC. If this goes through, will Verizon and AT&T buy studios? Are we going to be seeing situation where 5 companies own all information we get. Very dangerous situation. Familiar with FinSyn in early 90s. Remember that basically networks prohibited from owning own programs, during testimony that all networks said why would we buy our own programs [heh] we’re in the business of getting ratings. Right now we have this incredible concentration, reduced competition for independent producers. Comcast, yes, it’s a vertical integration, but also horizontal, both have sports programming,

Holder: If determination were made that it would violate anti-trust. Not at liberty to talk about much. Ongoing investigation, one that antitrust div that has shown itself to be appropriately aggressive.

Franken: Varney previous DOJ anti-trust, significant conditions. Skeptical but still open to imposing conditions. I have problems with imposing conditions. Hard to enforce them. Almost inevitably expire after a few years. Make sure that DOJ conditions would actually have enough teeth, and long enough life, would really impose real conditions to prevent very thing I’m fearing.

Holder: Take myself away from NBC Comcast. A wide range of things that can be done.

Franken: Can affect cable bill.

Holder: Now I’m concerned.

Franken: The way to Holder is through his pocketbook.

Klobuchar: Commend on Petters case, Ponzi.

Klobuchar: Cybercrime.

Whitehouse: Associate myself with remarks DiFi made. Emblems of American Justice, admired and revered around the world, justifiably take great pride. Blindfold and balance, not torch and pitchfork. Values of Article III courts, experiential base. Prosecutors can know how it’s going to play out. Hundreds of Article III terror prosecutions. Of the MC, a number were plea agreements.

Holder: I think that’s correct.

Whitehouse: Raises Goldsmith statement talking about novel legal issues that might render MCs ineffectual. Legislature has no proper business in exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

Holder: Letter from me and SecDef, inherently Executive Branch function.

Whitehouse: Graham’s remarks, flexible pragmatic and aggressive. A good one.

Specter: Oppty to test warrantless wiretaps unconstitutional.

Holder: We have not decided. Protection of sources and methods. A determination as to what we’re going to do has not been made. We are considering our options. I haven’t made up my mind yet. We have to see what the impact will be on this case, wrt program that ended in 2007, 2006, to the extent that the support of congress is the way in which Exec branch should operate. When we work w/Congress to set up these programs. When we look at requirements under FISA. We will have to consider what our options are and understand what the ramifications are.

Specter: I’d urge you to get a decision. I’ve filed a bill to compel SCOTUS to decide it.

Specter: Miranda warnings. All it means is that statements made by subject of interrogation cannot be admitted into evidence. When you dealt w/someone like Christmas day bomber, caught red handed, didn’t need confession. I would hope they not be given.

Holder: Intelligence. I think we have to have flexibility. They did not give Miranda warnings in initial interaction. Gathering of intelligence of critical importance.

Sessions, to Specter: Good to see you in that [Chair’s] chair, except it’s on the other side of the aisle.

Specter: This is not on an aisle.

Sessions: Yes, it’s in the middle of the room.

Holder: If bin Laden were captured, I can see no reason why he’d be given Miranda warnings. Concern with Miranda warnings only whether that information would be excluded. We have sufficient information.

Sessions: With Abdulmutallab, as a result of not giving Miranda, may create many defenses that would not otherwise exist. Rule would simply be that you expect these terrorist individuals be taken into military custody. We’ve done that a number of times.

Sessions keeps interrupting Holder.

Holder: FBI agents, had presence of mind, understand did not have to give him Miranda warnings.

Oops, Lindsey just said this: Obviously, we’re not torturing these people but we’ll have the authority to do that.

He means authority to interrogate, but didn’t say it.

Graham: What additional rights would a person have if transferred to Thomsen?

Holder: We don’t know yet.

Graham: Congress could give some direction. I think Lamberth has been very open about Congress needs to help. Have you been reading those?

Holder laughs.

Holder: yes, I have to read them.

Graham: We’re in a dilemma as a nation. GB has changed their rules to allow people to be held up to 1 year. We have the right here, if you’re an enemy combatant, law of war takes over.

Graham wants to make have non-arbitrary indefinite detention, even after govt loses habeas case.

Lindsey: 59% of American people opposed to closing Gitmo. Why?>

Holder: politicization and misinformation.

Lindsey: Alternate theory, a lot of people worried that we don’t have a coherent policy. I think it would be helpful to focus not only on our allies, but also on Americans. Tell them we’ll keep them secure. We’ve got to assure American people that we’ve got an enduring system. Let’s park some of the rhetoric.

Holder: Point you last made a good one, incumbent on people like myself, what our intentions are and to explain to them, ways I have not done, so degree of assurance, that in addition to whatever I have mentioned, factors you have mentioned is why approval has dropped.

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83 replies
  1. Leen says:

    thanks. Attended the Holder nomination hearings. Holder, Leahy, Whitehouse kept saying “no one is above the law” so many times I lost count

  2. Leen says:

    Will it come up that many supported the trial being in New York and then flipped on Holder will this come up. I thought Schumer gave his blessing for the trial being there then flipped

  3. Leen says:

    Did Feinstein undermine Holder’s decision to have the trial in New York? I thought she had. Right now she sounds all supportive of whatever he decides.

    During Holder’s nomination hearing Feinstein kept saying that “no one is above the law” She is the head of the SSCI. We have yet to see anyone held accountable for the false pre war intelligence. The Niger Documents. Would she be in charge of pushing for accountability for the false intelligence.

    Nothing ever came of those investigations into false pre war intelligence (Phase I and Phase II of the SSCi)

    What was the point of those investigations?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/78559-feinstein-says-obama-should-move-terror-trials-from-nyc

    Feinstein says Obama should move terror trials from New York City
    By Michael O’Brien – 01/28/10 02:21 PM ET

    President Barack Obama should order the trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other accused terrorists moved out of New York City, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

    Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is the highest-ranking Democrat to urge the administration to reverse course on its decision to bring the terror leaders to Manhattan for trial.

    “In my view, from an intelligence perspective, I think the situation has changed with the Christmas attack,” Feinstein said on MSNBC, citing confidential intelligence briefings.

    ———————————–
    she just made is sound like she has always been supportive of whatever Holder decides. What spin

  4. Leen says:

    Feintstein on children in detention. Will the young girl just released from Bagram be brought up?

    “5000 children held in detention” U.S. detention

  5. Leen says:

    Durbin “prosecutors who fail to prosecute”

    shoe bomber Richard Reed read his Miranda rights within five minutes under the Bush administration

    Durbin giving Example after example of how under the Bush administration Miranda rights were read to alleged terrorist

    400 under civilian courts
    3 in military courts

    Durbin “sensitivity of the people of New York ” in regard to the KSM trial

  6. Leen says:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer
    The Trial
    Eric Holder and the battle over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
    by Jane Mayer February 15, 2010

    Holder’s choice of a civilian trial for the architect of 9/11 has galvanized Republicans.

    On December 5th, several hundred people gathered in Foley Square, in lower Manhattan, and withstood a drenching rainstorm for two hours in order to send a message to Attorney General Eric Holder. A JumboTron, set up by the protesters, played clips of Holder’s recent testimony before Congress, in which he explained his decision to hold the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the self-proclaimed planner of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—and four co-conspirators in the colonnaded federal courthouse flanking the square, rather than in a military commission at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Members of the crowd shouted at the screen: “Holder’s gotta go!”; “Arrogant bastard!”; “Communist!”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0l5Pykqz3

    ———————————————-

    this argument by Lindsey Graham that when we are “at war with Al Queda” and then links it to having KSM trial under a military commission vs. civil trial

    Where was he with this argument during the Bush administration? His rational sounds like it falls through the cracks based on he did not ask for this during the Bush administration. Falls through the cracks. A peasant can see this

  7. Leen says:

    Feinstein sounded all fuzzy in support of what ever Holder decides. But just a while back she did her best to undermine his decision.

    Feinstein says Obama should move terror trials from New York City
    By Michael O’Brien – 01/28/10 02:21 PM ET

    President Barack Obama should order the trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other accused terrorists moved out of New York City, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

    Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is the highest-ranking Democrat to urge the administration to reverse course on its decision to bring the terror leaders to Manhattan for trial.

    “In my view, from an intelligence perspective, I think the situation has changed with the Christmas attack,” Feinstein said on MSNBC, citing confidential intelligence briefings.

      • Leen says:

        Spent a bunch of time with my oldest daughter her boyfriend and friends in Boulder. All professional all 30 somethings. I have never heard so many young people say that they are considering not having children because of the state of this country and the world. This sort of “war without end” would not make them feel very enthusiastic about the future.

        With the Obama administration ,Pelosi, Reid and team passing HCR, 3590 reduction of Nukes Summit let’s hope that this bleak picture that Graham paints “war without end” is squashed. Pathetic and defeatist statement

  8. Leen says:

    Schumer flipped on Holder. He supported Holder’s decision then undermined his decision
    “Joseph Lieberman, the Independent senator from Connecticut, released a statement declaring that Abdulmutallab was “an enemy combatant and should be detained, interrogated, and ultimately charged as such.” Then, to the dismay of Justice Department officials, the Obama Administration’s top intelligence official, Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence, appeared at a Senate hearing and, under harsh questioning from Republicans, second-guessed Holder’s decision to turn Abdulmutallab over to the F.B.I. (Blair later said that his remarks had been “misconstrued.”) Soon, even Democrats were attacking Holder’s decisions. In a letter to Obama, Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, suggested that holding a trial in New York was dangerous. “New York City has been a high-priority target since at least the first World Trade Center bombing,” she wrote. “The trial of the most significant terrorist in custody would add to the threat.”

    The death blow was struck by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who had previously pledged his support to Holder. On January 27th, Bloomberg distanced himself from the Justice Department, saying that a trial in New York would be too expensive. For months, companies with downtown real-estate interests had been lobbying to stop the trial. Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York Police Department, had fortified their arguments by providing upwardly spiralling estimates of the costs, which the federal government had promised to cover. In a matter of weeks, in what an Obama Administration official called a “classic City Hall jam job,” the police department’s projection of the trial costs went from a few hundred million dollars to a billion dollars.

    Senator Charles Schumer, of New York, quickly released a statement echoing Bloomberg; the wisdom of moving the trial away from lower Manhattan, he said, was “obvious.” Then, on February 1st, Schumer told the Daily News that he opposed the idea of a 9/11 trial taking place anywhere in New York State. Officials in Pennsylvania and Virginia—the two other states where the 9/11 attacks occurred—began declaring their opposition to hosting the trials, too.

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0l5SNWmhK

  9. klynn says:

    Spencer has a great related post up. Worth a gander in light of this hearing discussion.

    It’s all about civi courts vs milit commissions.

    • Leen says:

      Cardin [who calls it “Guantamano”]: Asks about making review for indefinite detention transparent so international community can see it. Holder says he’s working w/interagency, and also Graham.

      Cardin: If we don’t put sunlight on it, if we don’t engaged intl community, this war’s not going to end anytime soon.

      Jane Mayer’s “the Trial”

      “There is no evidence suggesting that military commissions would be tougher on suspected terrorists than criminal courts would. Of the three cases adjudicated at Guantánamo, one defendant received a life sentence after boycotting his own trial; another served only six months, in addition to the time he had already served at the detention camp; the third struck a plea bargain and received just nine months. The latter two defendants—Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as Osama bin Laden’s driver, and David Hicks, an Australian who attended an Al Qaeda training camp—are now at liberty in their home countries, having been released while Bush was still in office. It’s impossible to know how these same cases would have fared in the civilian system. But the case of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, offers a comparison between the two systems, as it closely parallels the case of Yaser Hamdi, a Saudi-American who was captured in the same place (Afghanistan) and at the same time (2001). Lindh, who pleaded guilty in a criminal court, is now serving twenty years in prison. Hamdi, who was declared an enemy combatant, was held in military detention, without charge; in 2004, after a court challenge, he was freed, and is now in Saudi Arabia.

      Michael Mukasey, who was Holder’s predecessor as Attorney General, has suggested that the military system is better at making terrorists talk. Last month, in the Wall Street Journal, he argued, “Had Abdulmutallab been turned over immediately to interrogators intent on gathering intelligence, valuable facts could have been gathered and perhaps acted upon.” But the conventional court system has proved surprisingly effective at extracting intelligence. Dozens of suspected terrorists in the criminal system have coöperated with the government, usually in exchange for leniency in sentencing. The government is currently receiving valuable information from David C. Headley, who was indicted last December, in Chicago, for his involvement in terrorism conspiracies in India and Denmark. And, last week, the Justice Department confirmed that Abdulmutallab was now coöperating with the F.B.I. A department official noted, “He has an incentive to talk in the criminal-justice system, which the other system doesn’t offer.” The key to gaining Abdulmutallab’s coöperation was the F.B.I.’s ability to enlist his family in getting him to talk. Holder asked me, “Would that father have gone to American authorities if he knew his son might be whisked away to a black site”—a secret prison set up in a foreign country—“and subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques? YOU ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO GET PEOPLE CO-OPERATING WITH US IF THEIR BELIEF IS THAT WE ARE ACTING IN A WAY THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH AMERICAN VALUES”

      WHAT A CONCEPT

      Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0l5XhZJBg

  10. Leen says:

    Re reading Jane Mayer’s New Yorker article again “The Trial”
    “Emanuel viewed many of the legal problems that Craig and Holder were immersed in as distractions. “When Guantánamo walked in the door, Rahm walked out,” the informed source said. Holder and Emanuel had been collegial since their Clinton Administration days. Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone, an obstetrician, had delivered one of Emanuel’s children. But Emanuel adamantly opposed a number of Holder’s decisions, including one that widened the scope of a special counsel who had begun investigating the C.I.A.’s interrogation program. Bush had appointed the special counsel, John Durham, to assess whether the C.I.A. had obstructed justice when it destroyed videotapes documenting waterboarding sessions. Holder authorized Durham to determine whether the agency’s abuse of detainees had itself violated laws. Emanuel worried that such investigations would alienate the intelligence community. But Holder, who had studied law at Columbia with Telford Taylor, the chief American prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, was profoundly upset after seeing classified documents explicitly describing C.I.A. prisoner abuse. The United Nations Convention Against Torture requires the U.S. to investigate credible torture allegations. Holder felt that, as the top law-enforcement officer in the U.S., he had to do something.

    Emanuel couldn’t complain directly to Holder without violating strictures against political interference in prosecutorial decisions. But he conveyed his unhappiness to Holder indirectly, two sources said. Emanuel demanded, “Didn’t he get the memo that we’re not re-litigating the past?”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0l5TcHEfq

  11. Mary says:

    Thanks EW – glad you had the stomach for it, but not really feeling like I missed much in the never-ending DOJ weasel show.

    Seen one weasel …

    • Leen says:

      Feinstein brought up children in U.S. detention facilities.

      Ew was this in relationship to KSM’s children or their whereabouts? Or just U.S. children.

      Wonder if anyone will bring up Aaqia Saddidi’s daughter who was held in Afghanistan for seven years under the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan

      Will anyone ask? Would that be an appropriate question to ask of Holder?

      http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/04/11/has-aafia-siddiquis-daughter-surfaced/
      Has Aafia Siddiqui’s Daughter Surfaced?
      By: Mary Sunday April 11, 2010 9:06 pm
      TweetTweet5 Share5 digg reddit stumbleupon

      Aafia Siddiqui has been at the center of one of the many mysteries flowing from the Bush and Obama administrations’ conduct of intelligence operations. A Pakistani native and former MIT scientist, background on Siddiqui can be found several places, including a Seminal diary by ondelette here.

      The stories of Siddiqui’s disappearance and her recent trial in the US are too convoluted to easily summarize. For purposes of the story now emerging — the possible appearance of Siddiqui’s daughter – the bare bones are that, after returning to Pakistan from the US, Aafia Siddiqui was named by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in his US-run torture interrogations. Shortly thereafter, in March, 2003, Siddiqui disappeared. Her three children – oldest son Ahmed, 4-year-old Maryam and her infant son, Suleman — disappeared with her.

      • pdaly says:

        Great liveblog. Wish we could ask the questions for our elected officials.

        I’m still catching up on prior treads. Sorry for the following OT.

        Re: Aafia Siddiqui’s supposed daughter and nuclear DNA testing showing likely paternity of Siddiqui’s first husband:

        Not sure how this fits: Didn’t Aafia’s first husband want to claim the kids– way back when the FBI was searching for Aafia? And wasn’t Aafia’s family refusing to grant him custody? So then wouldn’t Aafia’s family’s claims of proof of his paternity strengthen the ex-husband’s claim to the kids, counter to their wishes?

        Agree that lack of effort to show maternal relationship is odd, especially since the term “nuclear DNA testing” was used in the news stories. “Nuclear DNA testing” as opposed to what?
        => Has anyone asked whether mitochondrial DNA testing has been used to show a shared maternal family line? You wouldn’t need Aafia’s cooperation or DNA to perform the tests. And the test is not nuclear DNA testing but cytoplasmic DNA testing:

        (Mitochondria are cytoplasmic organelles with their own DNA that remains nearly identical generation to generation. Mitochondria are passed on to the next generation only by the mother, never naturally by the father. The mother passes copies of mitochondria on to all her children, both sons and daughters. While the daughters then pass on those same mitochondria to the next generation, the sons only provide the sperm but no mitochondria to the next generation.

        Gradual accumulation of DNA errors in mitochondria are also passed onto the next generation, so that a maternal family line can be traced (though not necessarily generation to generation) with unique mitochondrial DNA “fingerprints.”

        Therefore Aafia’s sister (if she shares the same mother as Aafia) should have an exact mitochondrial DNA match to both the supposed son and daughter of Aafia who are (both?) now in the family’s custody. The lack of a mitochondrial match of either child to Aafia’s sister’s mitochondrial DNA would prove Aafia is not the biological mother of the child(ren). Of course a mitochondrial DNA match wouldn’t prove Aafia’s maternity, but her maternity would at least be more likely.

        • pdaly says:

          clarification:

          the sons only provide the “some of the nuclear DNA via” sperm but no mitochondria to the next generation

        • R.H. Green says:

          Thanks for this input. I was puzzled by a couple of points in Mary’s article , and the word “nuclear” was one. Not being informed, I thought that all DNA was in th cell nucleus. So perhaps you can address my other quandary regarding the word “potential”. This IIRC referred to testing on the son whose results were consistent with a potential offspring of the mother. I don’t understand how the meaning of this claim is modified by the inclusion of the word, “potential”. Can you (anyone) help?

          • pdaly says:

            Most DNA is in the cell nucleus, so the fact that articles were specifying “nuclear” DNA indicated careful parsing at the very least, and likely knowledge, on the part of the reporter/editor, of other types of DNA testing.

            I couldn’t find the article where the son was compared to the mother’s DNA, just possible offspring of the father.

            In any case, DNA comparison between parent and child is a statistical comparison, so some doubt is possible in the interpretation. It depends on what areas of DNA are being compared, however. If the reporting helpfully included how likely a given match between two people occurs at random, and how likely a list of matches between two “unrelated” individual occurs at random, it would be easier to reach a conclusion of paternity or maternity.

            • cinnamonape says:

              Yes, I’m puzzled why the aunt wasn’t asked to provide a sample as that would be a close proxy for the mother and contain the same mitochondrial DNA.

            • Mary says:

              Here’s another follow up – it’s a couple of days old, but isn’t from a news site so I missed it before (its from a dedicated site – Justice for Aafia)
              http://justiceforaafia.org/index.php/articles/articles/509-who-brought-aafias-daughter-maryam-home-investigations-are-in-progress-fauzia-siddiqui

              This says that Siddiqui’s sister “said that she had also had DNA tests conducted privately and that she would be completely satisfied only after seeing reports of those tests.”

              Also adds that she said she’s been told by Malik that she will hear good news about Suleman within a few months; that there is info about where the girl has been (mentions both America and Bagram) and it is being investigated.

              As with other caveats – take with a grain of salt, but re: Suleman it jives with other reports that Karzai said the children (plural) were in Afghanistan while he was on a trip to Pakistan.

              • pdaly says:

                The extra private testing is an interesting fact. Sounds like the sister may be having mitochondrial DNA testing. I don’t know how closely an aunt’s nuclear DNA would match a niece, otherwise.

                I looked at the site you linked to. Found this quote which, if Ahmed’s perceptions of his father are true, would be shocking:

                Ahmed was finally released to the custody of Aafia’s family in Pakistan in September 2009.

                He [Ahmed] later gave a statement to police in Lahore, Pakistan, that he had been held in a juvenile prison in Afghanistan for years. On being reunited with his father for the first time, he ran away screaming in horror, claiming that his father was amongst those who used to beat him in Afghanistan.

                [bold mine]

                • Mary says:

                  The problem is, there are just so many stories. For some balance (I don’t think that’s even the right word in this case – let’s say for some of the counter-propaganda) here’s the story the father gave last year

                  http://www.ahrchk.net/ahrc-in-news/mainfile.php/2009ahrcinnews/2546/
                  While he paints his own picture, one thing that does emerge is that at one point he was working with the US to try to lure Siddiqui into turning herself over to them and it was after she resisted those overtures that she disappeared. “They[US] wanted me to persuade Aafia to appear for the interview with them and clear the charges leveled against her just as I had done. That is when she went underground”

                  Apparently their agreement gave custody to Siddiqui and I’m assuming that is what is partly behind the fact that the children as they have appeared have gone to her family and not him, although there have also been references to Siddiqui’s sister involved in “adopting” the children, which haven’t made much sense and I think are perhaps a translation issue, but maybe not.

                  He says, btw, that Siddiqui’s sister told him that the US dna results for Ahmed were falsified and that Ahmed was an orphan Siddiqui adopted
                  “At first she[Siddiqui’s sister] said Ahmed was mentally unfit to talk, and then claimed that he was not my son but an orphan adopted by Aafia and US reports that his DNA matched Aafia’s were also ‘cooked’ I refused to accept any of that as I had identified my son as soon as I saw a report on the electronic media of his arrest in Afghanistan.”

                  He also alleged he was kept from his son as a part of an elaborate coverup “they are discouraging a meeting with Ahmad because they fear Ahmad will reveal the truth about Aafia’s activities and whereabouts of his siblings over these years” while at the same time arguing that he saw Siddiqui and the kids were seen in Islamabad from time to time while she was supposedly missing

                  They claim he changed the children’s names – he claims they did – neither story makes sense if the children were in Afghanistan – etc. You really couldn’t get things more convoluted if some pros were involved, making it all as muddy as possible. ;)

            • bobschacht says:

              The alternative to nuclear DNA testing is mitochondrial DNA– these are balls of DNA that float around outside the nucleus, and derive from the egg, hence the Mother.

              Bob in AZ

        • Mary says:

          We got into more fun on the testing in the comments and ondelette provided some good links to other, older stories on the testing of the brother/son Ahmed and Aafia.

          I’m not sure how the divorce/custody etc. issues are handled under Pakistani law, but Khan and Siddiqui were divorced and things weren’t pleasant when she and the children disappeared. He made claims that the children were not really missing, nor was Siddiqui, and that he would see them from time to time going in and out of the family’s (Siddiqui’s mother and sister’s?) house.

          When Ahmed was detained with Siddiqui, the US tried to blackhole him with Afghan intel and run and it seems that Siddiqui’s family were at first very suspicious, since he went by a different name, there were language issues, he didn’t claim to know Siddiqui as a parent, etc. However, they still pushed for his return to Pakistan and he was returned to Siddiqui’s family’s custody. Khan, the supposed father, did say that he immediately thought that the boy was Ahmed.

          I had seen references to a DNA test being done with Siddiqui and Ahmed at some point, but nothing that spelled it out and I couldn’t see where that could have been done in Afghanistan. Apparently it wasn’t – ondelette provided the links that describe that
          http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5652514
          in August, 2008 (after the boy had been held in Afghanistan for about a month) the USAs office sent some correspondence to Siddiqui’s atty, indicating that there had been some contacts between the USAs office, State Dept and Afghanistan ( and that the results of a DNA test showed the boy’s DNA “was consistent with that of a potential offspring of Aafia Siddiqui” and that more tests were being done.

          Another link from ondelette:
          http://thenews.jang.com.pk/print3.asp?id=16899
          indicated that Pakistan was trying to get the boy turned over to it and that American’s had taken a “nuclear DNA sample” from Ahmed to match with Siddiqui – which would have indicated that it was the Americans, not the Afghans, who had access to the boy for the test.

          So apparently the initial test was of Ahmed to demonstrate he was Siddiqui’s son and that has the nuclear reference, with respect to a sampel taken from the boy.

          With the appearance of Maryam, it seems more samples were taken – it reads as if samples were taken of both Maryam AND Ahmed – and tested against Khan, Siddiqui’s first husband and he “cannot be ruled out” as being the father of both children.

          The DNA profile obtained from blood samples of Maryam Khan alias Fatima, Ahmad Muhammad – her brother – share the STR Genetic Markers with the DNA profile obtained from blood sample of Dr Amjad Khan. Based on the DNA analysis, Dr Amjad cannot be excluded as the biological father of Maryam alias Fatima,” concludes the National Forensic Science Agency’s report

          Has anyone asked whether mitochondrial DNA testing has been used one of the many questions I have not seen asked and I don’t know how involved representatives from the family have been in any of the testing done to date.

          I also thought that a part of the “potential offspring” was a caveat on how much material was tested from mother and possible son and also since the supposed father wasn’t also being tested at the time.

    • tjbs says:

      All here have the stomach to confront but the driver is a pure heart for EW’s fellow human beings she’s never meet and who are mislabeled the “worst of the worst”
      Eternal Gratitude is not enough for this site.

      I’ve taken to calling my Rep. Pat Murphy Pa-08 asking where KSM kids are and where are the 3 missing Larynx’s from the three supposed suicides in Gitmo ?
      I’ve got an aide’s name and promised to call daily since they couldn’t provide the answers to these questions I’ve asked unknown aides for months. Now his legal expert is on it and I said I would call tomorrow and the next day until I get a direct answer. Imagine if all 435 Reps received these requests daily.

  12. Leen says:

    I actually believe Whitehouse when I have heard him say “no one is above the law”

    Whitehouse “I trust that the decision should be left up to you”

    Lots of people undermined Holders decision, Schumer, Lieberman, Feinstein, Bloomberg, Emmanuel, Graham. What the hell.

    “Emanuel viewed many of the legal problems that Craig and Holder were immersed in as distractions. “When Guantánamo walked in the door, Rahm walked out,” the informed source said. Holder and Emanuel had been collegial since their Clinton Administration days. Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone, an obstetrician, had delivered one of Emanuel’s children. But Emanuel adamantly opposed a number of Holder’s decisions, including one that widened the scope of a special counsel who had begun investigating the C.I.A.’s interrogation program. Bush had appointed the special counsel, John Durham, to assess whether the C.I.A. had obstructed justice when it destroyed videotapes documenting waterboarding sessions. Holder authorized Durham to determine whether the agency’s abuse of detainees had itself violated laws. Emanuel worried that such investigations would alienate the intelligence community. But Holder, who had studied law at Columbia with Telford Taylor, the chief American prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, was profoundly upset after seeing classified documents explicitly describing C.I.A. prisoner abuse. The United Nations Convention Against Torture requires the U.S. to investigate credible torture allegations. Holder felt that, as the top law-enforcement officer in the U.S., he had to do something.

    Emanuel couldn’t complain directly to Holder without violating strictures against political interference in prosecutorial decisions. But he conveyed his unhappiness to Holder indirectly, two sources said. Emanuel demanded, “Didn’t he get the memo that we’re not re-litigating the past?”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0l5XhZJBg

    Holder clarifying whose decision it is.

    Whitehouse “cyber security”

  13. Mary says:

    I guess we can bomb the snot out of densely populated areas in Iraq, just not have a trial in same here in the US.

    Heaven forbid we would have had a trial of Ahmed Errachidi, the al-Qaeda “General” here in the US, or of al-Libi before we used his torture to gin up the war.

    Imagine what could have happened. Good thing Schumer is on the job.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The shouts about “Miranda warnings” are red herrings; they throw bones to the rightwing base.

    As readers of this site know, the Miranda warning, named after a 1966 Sup.Ct. decision, merely reminds a person in custody of rights they already have. It does not create those rights. Not giving it does not take them away, though it can make information gleaned from interrogations inadmissible.

    That’s because under the quaint document known as the US Constitution there are legitimate limits on the executive’s police powers, and the rights enumerated in the Miranda warning are deemed to include the obligation on the police explicitly to acknowledge them to a person in custody.

    Let’s face it: Republicans don’t think anyone other than corporations and their owners should be given a Miranda warning. The idea that it should be given to a little brown pagan furriner that someone in government thinks has done something bad (in addition to being a little brown pagan furriner) is to them, well, foreign.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Good theater and rabid emotion are things the Right thinks trump the law at every turn. Why give up on a good thing, especially if one’s legislative duty is to know and legislate the law and promote the rule of law? Absent that, however, these legislators have no job to do at all.

        The Right is aided and abetted not just by old Bushies and new Obamaites and “24”. The meme adopted by virtually every television crime drama, CSI especially, is to denigrate the law and lawyers. CSI’s investigators, for example, handle everything from forensics to arrests and interrogation. They do and know everything, they always get it right and they never make a mistake. Miranda, the Constitution and real life are nowhere in sight.

      • fatster says:

        They’re just throwing red meat to their ignorant masses who also like to watch Fox Nooze, listen to Limbaugh, etc. Anything–annnnnnnnnnnything–other than the truth.

          • fatster says:

            Yes, thanks for the correction. As for that “red meat” I mentioned, that stuff is so old you’d think it would have turned into the driest, most unpalatable jerky by now. But they still love it.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Graham’s notion that claimed prior bad acts, such as membership in an undesirable organization, are proof – technically, a rebuttable presumption – of continuing criminal behavior, even if that behavior was not a crime when originally done, makes for good political theater and bad law. Former lawyer Graham knows better.

    For Lindsey, once a member of an organization, always a member. I wonder how that would work for the venerable KKK, which one hears is still well regarded in Mr. Graham’s home state. Or for Arlen Specter or Joe Lieberman.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Schumer claims concern for “densely populated region” that would host civilian trials for people the government claims are the “worst of the worst”. NYC was a target before 9/11; it remains a possible target afterward. Not holding civilian trials will make it more of one, because military commissions will be regarded by the world, especially those who might act violently against us, as rigged against the defendants.

    As with diplomacy toward China, public shoutfests in Congress are rarely about substance. They are about exercising power at home and playing to one’s political base.

  17. Mary says:

    I expect the Graham nonsense, and I guess I expect the Schumer crap too, but it makes me more angry.

    Israel could invite press from all around the world and use a court system to try Adolph Eichmann – but Schumer gets the vapors over a trial of a low life like KSM.

    Obama then gets obsequious to the American Taliban over everything except his silliness about the Citizens United case (and yeah, I do think it was low rent for him to try to use an opportunity where the Justices had to sit there and smile politely to finally take a stand on something) and this is the Democratic leadership.

    • bmaz says:

      Thank you for that. And as to Obama at the State of the Union, I really had more of an issue with him being duplicitous about the nature of Citizens United than I did about the fact he brought it up.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a lighter but practical note is this breath of fresh air from Garrison Keillor. It is a de facto but not explicit rebuttal to David Brooks’ recent nonsense that the wealthy are successful because they work harder than poor folk, not because they’re born with it or because they cheat and rig the game. It’s a viewpoint lost on the likes of Cornyn, DiFi, Graham, Hatch, Schumer, and Sessions, who would wholeheartedly agree with Brooks (the kind of patrons he writes for):

    You get a substitute organist at church who plays with a lot of flash and pulls out the trumpet stops and he makes you appreciate your old ordinary organist who isn’t that good and knows it. You date boys who are brilliant and unreliable and you amuse yourself with them and then you marry a plain guy who you see has those little virtues cited above and will be a good father and sweet husband, a steady reliable man — you don’t go to bed with Mark Twain and wake up with the Marquis de Sade — who will dispose of deceased rats and will cook now and then and is capable of astonishing things in dim light.

    The sensible virtues of industry, honesty, modesty, are ones prized by working people and so they should be the prime values of the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama was elected, in part, because he was seen as embracing them. When we execute a massive bailout of the banks, necessary as that is, we put aside those virtues, and that’s why the billions for Wall Street led to the populist backlash and put the party at risk at the start of what should’ve been a successful year, but it’s possible to work our way back to our core value, which is to honor work.

  19. Mary says:

    Leahy’s opening statement for the hearings is up at Main Justice

    http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/04/14/leahy-opening-statement-on-doj-oversight-hearing/

    He does mention Siddiqui in it – to give Holder a pat on the back for getting her conviction.

    In February, Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman, described by FBI Director Robert Mueller as an “al Qaeda operative,” was convicted for the attempted murder of U.S. service members.

    I feel like I’ve lost touch with Leahy in the same way I feel he’s lost touch with the Graham’s and Schumer’s. On the undie bomber and Miranda warnings his statement asks, as if he thinks the answer would be a given, “Would the critics have denied him medical treatment for his wounds?”

    Ummmm – have you ever actually listened to the “critics” Senator? Hell yess they would have denied him medical treatment.

    And he really seems to believe in some kind of, *we didn’t pick on you so I’ll tell mommy if you pick on me* concept “We did not play a blame game about who ignored intelligence or failed to prevent the attacks. We came together to ensure the President, law enforcement, and the intelligence communities had the authorities necessary to hunt down those responsible.”

    BTW – great to see how those “authorities” the Democrats gave out and have continued to support – warrantless wiretaps, torture, torture killings, targeted US citizen assassination, classification used to cover crimes and start wars to benefit Halliburton, etc. – great to see how all that’s turned out.

    Thanks for making all that support available.

    I’m so soured on the Dems I can’t really even bear to get the fundraising stuff from Feingold and Leahy anymore.

  20. Mary says:

    If anyone wants it, here’s Sessions statement too
    http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/04/14/sessions-opening-statement-on-doj-oversight-hearing/

    This is a pretty good summary of what fills the vacuum left by the lack of Democratic leadership:
    “The American people are not interested in relocating terrorists from Guantánamo into their own communities.”

    Yep – he gets by with that.

    I guess it’s because Holder and Obama so desparately want this bit from Daddy Sesssions:

    There are, however, some important areas where we agree.

    The Department of Justice rightly has asserted the state secrets privilege and defended that privilege against both litigation and legislation

    Talk about a bizarre thing for a legislators to say – “hey, good on you for saying that the Exec can commit crimes and cover them up from courts and also tell us legislators to go suck a duck if we think we can get you to have to cough any of it up”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Great example of how the GOP pulls the rhetorical rug out from under these Democrats all the time. We don’t want those people in our backyards. Right. “Those people” elicits a long list of undesirables, not just people our government detains in Gitmo. “In our backyards” evokes L. Frank Baumish visions of there being no place like home, except that inmates of maximum security prisons are about as far away from anyone’s backyard as the Land of Oz.

      His rhetorical skills, Obama too often reserves for his in-house critics from the left, not his rightwing political opponents who think he’s a foreign interloper who has no legitimate claim on the presidency or to influence our national agenda.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    That’s Leahy’s version of “Look forward, not back”. We won’t ask how we got into this mess, or what led to preventable loss or death from 9/11 or our wars in the Middle East or our global renditions. He acts as if Ed Meese were right: the police (and our intelligence and military services) never arrest, torture or kill the wrong people.

    Leahy reminds me of half of Sam Ervin. Ervin claimed to be a simple country lawyer from the backwoods, in his case, North Carolina. He also had a mind like a steel trap, honed at Harvard Law School. His DSC, Silver Star and two purple hearts, awarded for service in the First World War, suggested he knew about courage in the face of the enemy, foreign or domestic. Leahy has the simple country lawyer part down pat.

  22. skdadl says:

    Thanks, EW, for the liveblogging — I had to be out this a.m. and couldn’t watch. And thanks to all for the commentary.

    Am I getting the wrong impression from necessarily brief notes, or has Sheldon Whitehouse retreated a lot into the background?

  23. klynn says:

    OT

    A woman called in to Talk of the Nation just a few minutes ago. The show is asking who do you think would make a good GOP nomination. The female caller essentially said that until the GOP stop playing games and making negative atacking comments about who Democrats happen to be and how unpatriotic they happen to be, she does not know of anyone worth the nomination. She said the person who stands up to Hannity and Beck will deserve the nomination. She shared her husband is a Democrat and that she is a Republican. Her husband has serve two tours in the military. She sees her husband as very dedicated to our nation. Unfortunately, when Republicans talk the anti patriotic, anti-American labels towards Dems, they are including her husband.

    She said she has no hope that the Republicans will ever stand up to the hate speech which is happening right now. Thus, she said they have lost her vote for now.

    • bmaz says:

      Um, no, the journalist does not quite understand what the hell he is talking about. It is a Santiago proffer that will be released, which is effectively, in lay terms, nothing more than disclosure of the government’s prima facie case on common schemes and schemers in a conspiracy; it is NOT the government’s full case.

    • MadDog says:

      A worthwhile read over at Main Justice about the HJC hearing today on the FBI’s misuse of “Exigent Letters”:

      Sensenbrenner Feels ‘Betrayed’ by FBI’s Patriot Act Violations

      …Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said he was frustrated by the FBI’s actions, which he said showed the agency wanted to get around the restrictions that Congress put in place under the Patriot Act. Sensenbrenner said it was especially frustrating because as the author of the Patriot Act, he worked closely with the FBI to ensure the agency had all the tools it needed and has taken a lot of criticism from Democrats over the law.

      “I came to this whole issue as your friends and I feel betrayed,” said Sensenbrenner. ”I don’t think you’re getting the message.”

      Exigent letters were never approved by Congress, said both Republicans and Democrats, calling “exigent letters” a term that the FBI invented…

      …“I am outraged that somebody in the FBI would invent the term [exigent] letters,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). “It’s not in the Patriot Act.” He called for further investigation, and said there may be grounds for the removal of Caproni…

  24. fatster says:

    From EW’s notes on Graham’s statements today regarding detention: “if you’re an enemy combatant, law of war takes over.” And yet we aren’t at war in the sense that Congress hasn’t declared war. “Makes me want to holler, throw up both my hands.”

  25. MadDog says:

    And in case folks missed it, Stephen Kappes is leaving his position as Deputy Director of the CIA.

    Senator Diane Feinstein’s commentary:

    Feinstein Statement on Departure of Stephen Kappes from CIA, Naming of CIA Veteran Michael Morell as Deputy Director

    From the WSJ: CIA Names New Deputy as Veteran Steps Down

    From the WaPo: Morell to replace Kappes as CIA deputy director

    And no, I doubt Kappes departure is at all related to John Durham’s recent visibility in DC.

      • MadDog says:

        And the wingnuts see conspiracies everywhere with Kappes departure being front and center:

        Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism wingnut blog has these to fantasies today:

        SOS – RED ALERT – New York Times About to Put American Troops in Deadly Peril

        I have just received word that the New York Times is preparing to go public with a list of names of Americans covertly working in Afghanistan providing force protection for our troops, as well as the rest of our Coalition Forces. If the Times actually sees this through, the red ink they are drowning in will be nothing compared to the blood their entire organization will be covered with. Make no mistake, the Times is about to cause casualty rates in Afghanistan to skyrocket. Each and every American should be outraged…

        Update: CIA’s Deputy Director Suddenly Decides To ‘Retire’

        In a follow-up to my story this morning and my ongoing series about the CIA’s vicious war on the Department of Defense that is partly being waged in the pages of the nation’s major newspapers, the Washington Post is reporting that the CIA’s Deputy Director, Stephen Kappes will “retire” and be replaced by career Agency man Michael Morell.

        While I have been adverse to mentioning Kappes by name, when I was informed last night that the CIA had leaked to the New York Times the names of Americans covertly providing Force Protection to our troops in Afghanistan and that the Times was going to run with those names, I couldn’t hold back any longer…

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Funny. In a well-run organization, the leader announces these things and is first to characterize the changes s/he wants or acknowledges, with statements by others involved following afterward.

  26. pdaly says:

    Those links ondelette provided sound convincing that Ahmed has been linked definitively to his monther Aafia. Nuclear DNA testing is more specific than mitochondrial DNA for proving parental relationship.

    Still curious why the same type of reporting has been difficult to find when it comes to linking Maryam genetically to her mother Aafia. (Seems the only reporting makes attempts to link Maryam to the biological father Amjad Khan and Maryam’s brother Ahmed).

    Wonder why Ahmed lied about his parentage–unless he was taught a cover story? Reminds me of when Elizabeth Smart was discovered with her captors and she denied at first that she was Elizabeth:

    An officer who caught up with them asked the young girl if she was Elizabeth Smart. At first Smart, wearing a red wig, denied she was “that girl who ran away.” But after being asked a few more times if she was Elizabeth, she finally told the officer, “If thou sayeth.” “I was scared,” she says now. “I thought, ‘My family’s safety or my freedom?'”

    (from People magazine)

  27. Mary says:

    It’s hard to think there could be just one reason for Kappes leaving.

    He’s under attack from the inimitable Barthingy – by a guy named Thor. I guess in a normal world, that would be reason enough.

    But let’s see – Congress is investigating and someone at CIA has to be anted up on the Ft Hood, Aw-laki, Hasan contacts.

    Then there’s the fact that his crew that carried off the Abu Omar kidnappings are currently being tracked by Spataro in Italy using the very same equip that the US has given them for tracking terrorists.

    Someone was responsible for the failures and authorizations surrounding the CIA bombing – which looks like it would track back to his office.

    Someone at CIA is going to be on the front burner over the CIA rapist who just might have shown some proclivities to be a rapist earlier as well.

    Someone might have to answer some formal questions passed on by Pakistan about the children who have turned up, and, more importantly, the one who hasn’t.

    Then there’s Durham’s non-investigation, but it’s fwiw.

    Then there’s the still missing children and wife of KSM.
    Then there’s the fact that the CIA memo on the innocence of so many at GITMO is going to come out at some point or someone is going to start asking the right questions at least.

    THen there’s Wilkerson’s affidavit and where follow ups might go.

    A body buried in Afghanistan who was a footsoldier for a key warlord Afghan is trying to secure (although perhaps not America) for a peace process.

    Lots of bodies buried in a shipping container that Obama lost track of awfully quickly.

    And as Obama is working more and more towards earning his Assassain’s badge from the Grand Order, it could be, too, that Kappes (who did pull this resigning thing before) is sending some messages of his own back to Obama about how deep the loyalty is – or isn’t – among the CIA Tea Partiers who Obama will have carrying out his American assassinations for him.

    I wouldn’t begin to pick the story(s) that are most directly behind this. I guess in an old chinese fable the impetus would have started with the beatings of the wings of a butterfuly – these days, maybe the last puff of breath from a cab driver or a sob from his daughter

    But in the end, with someone who was in the center of so much and with whom Obama is nos so intertwined, you basically have to figure that he’s leaving because he will be personally better off when he does. Someone who has been so successful for so long, making sure that while children disappear and al-Libi becomes “suicidal” and US 18 yos go to be blown up or to become killers, he, personally, does just fine – well, it’s hard to see that course change.

    Maybe he’s leaving for some karma bounceback, but I think it’s more likely he’s leaving because he will benefit from leaving.

    Heck – maybe Bush needs a librarian …

  28. cinnamonape says:

    Marcy I wonder what you might think about the reports that Steven Kappes is stepping down? Some of the reports suggest he was involved in one of the CIA Torture Cases. Maybe I’ve missed something about this, or has someone slipped up and reported something that was given under deep background?

    • cinnamonape says:

      Ack! I guess you guys were already all over this…but the AP releases suggest strongly that he was “under a cloud” for a specific torture related case….was this the Abu Omar rendition? Or some other?

      • MadDog says:

        In response to you and Mary at # 70, and in piece of pure fact-free speculation on my part, it may be that Kappes is leaving now because the Durham CIA torture investigations have concluded with prosecution declination memos to all concerned.

        Kappes & Co. may figure they no longer need to take shelter behind CIA secrecy walls, nor need to avail themselves of free CIA paided for defense counsel.

        As I say, pure unsubstantiated speculation on my part. *g*

  29. cheneywatchorg says:

    It is a shame that nobody has asked him, “so if you had to prosecute a senior official for war crimes, do you have a plan to do so? are you clear on the legal precedent in not doing so?” or something along these lines. Instead, we get a RightHeavy question and answer.

    • pdaly says:

      I wish someone would ask Holder to explain how Bush’s overwhelming “success”
      (surveillance state, unitary executive, state secrets, indictment free state sponsored torture)
      sprang from the rubble of Bush’s abject 9/11 failures,

      and then why Obama’s/NYC’s shrinking fear of a KSM civilian trial in NYC leads illogically to the opposite effect on the Obama Administration. Afterall if Bush made lemonade galore with his giant damaged apple, where is Obama’s sense of optimism with a similar “catastrophic failure?”

      I believe a civilian, public criminal trial for KSM would be the best way to show our nation’s strength in its belief in a nation of laws not men –as Holder has opined recently–, but why not run with the MSM’s meme of “certain failure” that has all distressed Republicans and some Democrats in handwringing positions and remind them that a beautiful American mythical phoenix can rise from those ashes. It worked for Bush. It can work for Obama, too! /s

  30. alinaustex says:

    [email protected]
    Is there anyway to test that supposition that Durham has already declined to prosecute individuals like Kappes -when would this ever be made public ? Didn’t Fitzgerald have to at some point publically decline to
    prosecute Cheney ?

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