Holder to Appoint Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Interrogations
The Justice Department still hasn’t officially announced it, but The Washington Post is reporting this afternoon, based on anonymous sources, that Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to go ahead and open an investigation on those controversial CIA interrogations we’ve been talking about for weeks now.
According to The Post’s Carrie Johnson, Holder is set to appoint John Durham, the career Justice Department prosecutor who’s already investigating the 2005 destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, to investigate whether some of the agency’s interrogatorss employed techniques that went beyond what the DOJ’s guidelines allowed. The department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a series of controversial memos during the Bush administration allowing a range of “extreme” interrogation techniques that ranged from waterboarding to “walling” (slamming a detainee’s head repeatedly against a wall) to prolonged sleep and food deprivation.
There are reportedly about a dozen cases Holder will investigate, and sources told The Post that the prosecutor’s mandate will be narrow, focusing only on the actions of CIA personnel and whether they broke the law.
Civil liberties and human rights groups as well as many commentators have criticized the narrow scope of the investigation, although as I’ve pointed out, an investigation of low-level CIA interrogators may require an honest prosecutor to inquire more broadly about the actions of those higher up the chain of command.