Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder’s hard line on interrogation (“waterboarding is torture“) rattled Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and a few minority Senators enough to delay the vote to send Holder’s nomination to the Senate floor. After all, if waterboarding is torture, and torture is a crime, who’s to say that the Justice Department won’t start prosecuting former Bush officials once Holder takes the post?
It would seem those in the old guard who authorized enhanced interrogation techniques might have a lot to sweat about, but one former Bushie isn’t worried: former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
“I don’t think that there’s going to be a prosecution, quite frankly,” Gonzales said during an interview with NPR Monday, when asked whether he was worried about being prosecuted by Holder for his involvement. “These activities . . . they were authorized, they were supported by legal opinions at the Department of Justice.”
And what did Gonzales think of Holder’s straightforward answer to the committee?
“One needs to be careful in making a blanket pronouncement like that,” Gonzales said, suggesting that it might affect the “morale and dedication” of intelligence officials and lawyers who are attempting to make cases against terrorism suspects.
He said people he knows at the CIA have told him that agents there “no longer have any interest in doing anything controversial.” And that, Gonzales asserted, means they “won’t be doing what they need to be doing” to protect the country.
Holder had better hope Cornyn and the rest of the Senate Judiciary minority share Gonzales’ optimistic attitude at the Committee meeting this Wednesday.