Thursday, January 03, 2008

This might be the real deal...

By Carl

Cross your fingers and hope, tho.

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had opened a full investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing in the CIA's destruction in 2005 of videotapes of terrorism suspects' interrogations.

Signaling resolve to get to the bottom of a case that has touched off a political and legal firestorm, Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey announced that he was appointing a mob-busting prosecutor from Connecticut with experience at rooting out official misconduct to oversee the investigation. The unusual move means that the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia, which normally handles CIA investigations, will play no role in the case.

Though the opening of an investigation does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow, it does raise the stakes for the agency and its employees who were involved in or had knowledge of the tapes and how they were handled internally.

Heading the investigation will be John H. Durham, an assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut for more than 25 years who is known as one of the government's most relentless prosecutors. Durham has prosecuted an array of mobsters and political figures, including former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland.

The DoJ investigating the CIA on the face of things sounds like a cover-up. Some things, however, lead me to suspect this might be a real investigation.

For one thing, John Durham is a prosecutor more in the mold of
Patrick Fitzgerald, placing the law above loyalty. Governor Rowland of Connecticut is a Republican and a long-time friend of the Bush family, for example. Also, Durham comes to this task only after the US Attorney for the Middle Atlantic district recused himself (conflict of interest, probably), so he wasn't even Mukasey first choice.

If this investigation goes to the form of the Valerie Plame inquiries, then a patsy will be set up.

Here's where it gets interesting, tho. The CIA and the Bush administration haven't been on the same page about too many things since the Plame outting, in particular because the CIA warned Bush agaisnt using the intelligence obtained as a basis for the invasion of Iraq.

Altho I have no direct evidence of anything at this point, my suspicion is that history will write that the last five years of the Bush administration could be loosely defined as an internecine war with the CIA. If you look at the appointment of Porter Goss as director of the CIA, the inclusion of the CIA under the Director of National Intelligence, and the way the administration hung the CIA out to dry over the intelligence miscues leading up to September 11, you get the picture that the CIA might have some small resentments towards the Bush administration.

And I suspect...let me rephrase that, I wouldn't be surprised, if many of the major embarassments of the past five years have been at the direction of some elements in the CIA to make the administration look foolish.

I mean, come on, Porter Goss being involved with a weekly
"poker game" with hookers? And the administration didn't know about this?

I'd even venture that the CIA has tied the administration up in knots in foreign policy areas, too, and it wouldn't surprise me...well, it might, but don't say I didn't say it first...if indeed Bhutto's assassination wasn't done with at least the knowledge of and tacit consent by the CIA.

Naturally, the administration being the bunch of candypants cowboys they are, would want to push things one step further along in a grand game of chicken. This video investigation fits the bill nicely, and has all the earmarks of a Karl Rove operation: first you con them into destroying the tapes, then you point fingers and call in the cops.

That you have CIA director (and Bush buttboy) Michael Hayden admitting the destruction of a key piece of government evidence speaks volumes, when you would expect a sidestep arabesque to distract public attention while choosing a scapegoat.

We haven't heard the last of this story yet. I don't think this one will be "wrapped up" as neatly as Libby Scooter.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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