Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.But why is that last sentence there? Yeah, I know, "gotta have balance." How would it sit with you to read about a suspect in your town, who was accused of terrible crimes, given an off-the-cuff defense by a journalist, "He has not tortured, killed or raped anyone for four years or more."
Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.
Durham's mandate, the sources added, will be relatively narrow: to look at whether there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale criminal investigation of current and former CIA personnel who may have broken the law in their dealings with detainees. Many of the harshest CIA interrogation techniques have not been employed against terrorism suspects for four years or more.
It doesn't sit real well with me either. Look, here's my position: I desperately hope these allegations and reports turn out to be baseless. I hope the investigation is well documented and that relevant evidence is released when it can be... not necessarily during the course, but when it can be without interfering with justice. I hope that Holder and Durham have the cajones to pursue further action if it's warranted.
But I'm fearful that all three of those hopes are likely to be dashed.