Political gamesmanship has no place in the Department of Justice (DOJ), but that is exactly what Eric Holder, President Barack Obama’s pick for Attorney General, is doing.
Holder made the decision to ask a special prosecutor to investigate for possible criminal prosecution of CIA operatives. What did these operatives do to make Holder and the more liberals in America go after them? They simply took actions through the advice of the DOJ, which they thought were legal, to interrogate suspected terrorists to keep America safe.
CIA operatives under the Bush administration have been accused of using harsh interrogation tactics and torture on detainees in secret overseas prisons. However, a declassified 2004 report by the CIA inspector general stated that a task force had already cleared the agency of any wrongdoing and determined that it was not necessary to proceed with prosecutions.
This political maneuvering is no surprise by an Obama nominee, but to put the country at risk for political expediency is not only egregious, but un-American.
Holder entered office promising the removal of politicization from the DOJ, but that just seems like another lost campaign promise. When Holder announced he was going through with a special prosecutor, he was met with criticism from former CIA director Michael Hayden, former Vice President Dick Cheney and even veteran DOJ attorneys, among many others.
Although Obama’s stance on the matter is hard to gauge, he disagreed with reinvestigating the CIA in a January interview on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
“We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” Obama said. “At the CIA, you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don’t want them to suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.”
In an April DOJ press release, Holder said, “it would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department.”
Now as Holder goes on with his witch hunt, Obama is silent.
A letter sent from Brian Benczkowski, principal deputy assistant attorney general, to Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in February explained in plain language why there were no convictions.
Benczkowski said in each case the decision rested on “one or more of the following reasons: insufficient evidence of criminal conduct, insufficient evidence of the subject’s involvement, insufficient evidence of criminal intent and low probability of conviction.”
Holder is simply shopping for the answer he wants, not the correct one.
In terms of law and order, there does not appear to be a reason Holder would reopen the issue. This seems truly political, and Holder is trying to satisfy the left-wing bias. The DOJ has become a purely partisan and a limited agency, and that puts America at risk.
Erik Raymond is a graduate student majoring in linguistics.