Holder Inching Closer to Torture Probe

August 09, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly getting closer to appointing an independent prosecutor to investigate torture under the Bush administration. That’s making some CIA employees nervous.

Greg Miller and Josh Meyer of The Los Angeles Times on Sunday confirmed earlier reports that Holder has reluctantly come around to thinking that he can’t avoid the fact that torture occurred at the hands of U.S. officials, and that U.S. and international law requires an investigation. Holder is reportedly only considering cases where CIA interrogators went beyond the rules established by the Bush administration’s lawyers, rather than investigating the legality of those rules themselves. But as I’ve written before, it’s not clear where such an inquiry would logically end. Investigating CIA functionaries low on the totem pole — which would involve re-opening cases previously dismissed by the Bush administration — would ultimately require looking into the orders they received from their superiors.

Previous proposals to create commissions to undertake broader inquiries — from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) — have so far failed to win majority support in Congress.

According to The LA Times, CIA officials are already nervous about Holder’s impending probe, with some even putting off their retirement or plans to leave the agency so they can maintain access to classified information they might need for their defense, or argue that as government officials they’re immune from suit.

“Once you’re out, it gets a lot harder,” a retired CIA official told The Times.

*You can follow TWI on Twitter and Facebook. *