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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Holder And Obama Move Against CIA

Holder And Obama Move Against CIA

August 25, 2009

Holder And Obama Move Against CIA

August 24, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Against the recommendations of senior intelligence officials, past and present, the DOJ, egged on by a rudderless WH desperate to end the healthcare debate fiasco, is poised to conduct a slash and burn campaign against the Central Intelligence Agency, with Eric Holder set to announce shortly that he will appoint a special prosecutor to conduct a criminal investigation of the Agency's interrogation of al-Qaeda terrorists.

The move has been the subject of much speculation since Newsweek breathlessly suggested six weeks ago that Holder had indeed made up his mind regarding the prosecution [see, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=newsweekid=7.13.09%2Ehtm Newsweek's Unrestrained Glee Over A Possible "Holy War" On Bush/Cheney By Eric Holder].

Newsweek's speculation seems to have been confirmed in an LA Times piece published two weeks ago [see, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cia-interrogate9-2009aug09,0,34626.story] and again in an even more definitive manner in today's WashPost piece [see, Holder to Appoint Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Terror Interrogations, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/24/AR2009082401743_pf.html].

The upshot of this is that for the first time in contemporary political history an administration will engage in an effort to criminalize the national security policy of the previous administration, as we noted in Holder's DOJ Gets Closer To Prosecuting Bush Admin Officials Over GITMO

Holder's decision constitutes an about-face from the story team Obama floated back when it had a stake in appearing moderate.

"Seven months ago, pre inauguration, the WashPost carried a story seemingly debunking the idea that the then incoming administration had any intent to mount prosecutions over the anti-terror policies of the Bush administration, writing, "President-elect Barack Obama has privately signaled to top U.S. intelligence officials that he has no plans to launch a legal inquiry into the CIA's past use of water boarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, agency director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday." [source, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2009/01/15/AR2009011504009.html]

As if to punctuate that story line, president elect Obama appearing on ABC's This Week during the same time-frame said, 'When it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past...'

Though the WashPost might have correctly reflected the thinking of team Obama at the time, now faced with the difficulty of keeping the extreme left majority within the Democrat leadership on board in critical legislative battles, not the least of which being health care initiatives, the executive branch may indeed have signaled Holder's team that it's time to trot out show trials and go after the previous administration."

That the administration's change of mind [making the huge assumption that going after the previous administration criminally was not always a top Obama priority] is rooted in political considerations is underscored by the fact that all of these interrogation cases were looked at intensively by a team of veteran prosecutors during 2005-06 and only one was as found to be potentially actionable.

"After the IG report reached Justice, a task force was set up in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, Va., that reviewed about 20 criminal referrals of detainee abuse sent over by the CIA and military criminal investigators...But task-force prosecutors say they ran into a host of problems, including a lack of witnesses and forensic evidence, and declined to prosecute in all but one case. "We wanted to make these cases, but they just weren't there," says Rob Spencer, the former career Justice prosecutor who headed the task force until 2006. Ken Melson, who oversaw Spencer's work and was appointed by Holder as acting Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director, says the cases were "looked at aggressively" and without political pressure. "I think we made the right decision on these cases," he says." [see, Holder Probe Has Its Critics, http://www.newsweek.com/id/207399]

If the above high-stakes scenario does indeed play out, look for a massive push back by U.S. intelligence, with CIA's Leon Panetta already threatening to quit over this very issue. With the sense of resentment and rage now palpable within the agencies charged with defending the homeland, such a move might effectively cripple this administration in short order. http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=holder8.24.09%2Ehtm

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