June 14, 2011, Georgetown SLB
06/14/11: The Miami Herald reports that the Justice Department has opened a torture and war crimes grand jury investigation into the interrogation and death of a prisoner at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a person close to the investigation said Tuesday. The death has been known to the public for years and has been investigated repeatedly. The grand jury in northern Virginia is a sign that the Justice Department is still not ready to close the book on the 2003 homicide of prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi.
06/13/11: TIME reports that it has obtained a copy of a subpoena signed by John Durham, a prosecutor tasked with investigating alleged illegal activities carried out by CIA officers. The subpoena says “the grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving War Crimes (18 USC/2441), Torture (18 USC 243OA) and related federal offenses.”
05/18/11: The Miami Herald reports that House intelligence chairman Mike Rogers says the Justice Department should stop investigating CIA interrogators for alleged abuse of detainees under the Bush administration. Rogers says the interrogators’ work helped lead to the killing of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, obtained by The Associated Press, the Michigan Republican says the interrogation program was a “vital part of the chain” that led to the successful raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan two weeks ago. The Justice Department on Tuesday said “no comment.”
04/12/11: The Los Angeles Times reports that the CIA has stopped trying to detain or interrogate suspects caught abroad, except those captured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under Obama, the CIA has killed more people than it has captured. In particular, the agency has made no move to interrogate or seek custody of al-Qaeda linked Indonesian militant Umar Patek since he was apprehended this year by officials in Pakistan with the help of a CIA tip. HT to Neal R. Sonnett.
11/09/09: MSNBC reports that former VP Dick Cheney criticized DOJ’s investigation into enhanced interrogations used by the CIA and military on detained suspected terrorists. “I find that absolutely abhorrent,” said Cheney, “It bothers the heck out of me that we would go after those people who have been instrumental in preventing further attacks against the United States.”
10/04/09: The LA Times has an opinion describing the possible motivations for retired generals and admirals who have come out defending Attorney General Holder’s review of CIA terrorism interrogations.
09/29/09: Intelligence Daily reports that a group of former intelligence officers, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), have written an open letter to President Obama to voice strong support for Attorney General Eric Holder’s authorization of a wider investigation into CIA interrogation.
09/26/09: The Washington Post reports that Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said Friday that they will no longer participate in an investigation into the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, arguing that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s decision to reexamine allegations of detainee abuse by the CIA would hobble any inquiry.
09/21/09: The Washington Times reports that President Obama said Sunday he will not intervene to halt a Justice Department investigation into harsh tactics used by Central Intelligence Agency agents when questioning terror suspects.
09/19/09: The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department’s review of detainee abuse by the CIA will focus on a very small number of cases, including at least one in which an Afghan prisoner died at a secret facility, according to two sources briefed on the matter.
09/04/09: The Washington Times reports that former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said Thursday that his previous assertion that it was “legitimate to question and examine” charges of CIA abuses of terrorism suspects did not mean he endorsed such an investigation.
09/02/09: The Washington Times reports that former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on Tuesday defended the decision of his current successor, Eric H. Holder Jr., to investigate alleged prisoner abuse by CIA interrogators over President Obama’s desire to look forward. Mr. Gonzales also said Bush administration lawyers clearly defined what interrogation techniques were legal and the few who went beyond the rules should be investigated, despite the so-called chilling effect it might have on future intelligence-gathering.
08/28/09: The Washington Post reports that CIA Director Leon Panetta decided Thursday that the agency will ensure legal representation for case officers who become caught up in investigations of alleged interrogation abuses of detainees at overseas locations, a senior intelligence official said.
08/28/09: The Toronto Star has an editorial arguing that the CIA abuse probe, as a “push to reaffirm America as a nation of laws is heartening. However painful, a full probe would serve the U.S. well. It would honour Obama’s pledge to put the nation on a better course, and help restore its stature abroad.”
08/28/09: The New York Times reports that with the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama’s national security team.
08/28/09: The Washington Post reports that the back story to Monday’s appointment of a career prosecutor to review CIA interrogation methods illustrates Attorney General Eric Holder’s influence in the new administration and sheds light on the emerging and delicate relationship between the White House and the Justice Department. In this and other big battles, including the decision to release memos this year by Bush administration officials giving the green light to harsh interrogation tactics, Holder and his Justice Department have prevailed over strong objections from the CIA and the intelligence community.
08/25/09: Here is a round-up of reactions to Eric Holder’s appointment of John Durham as special prosecutor to review cases of CIA abuse:
- The Washington Post has four short opinion pieces on Attorney General Eric Holder’s appointment of a special prosecutor to examine past CIA abuses.
- The Wall Street Journal has an editorial arguing that “Mr. Holder had it right the first time [in deciding to move forward]. His about-face yesterday, compounded by his release of a 2004 internal CIA report on that agency’s handling of terrorists, opens a political war that President Obama, the CIA and above all the country will live to regret.”
- The Boston Globe has an editorial arguing that “Obama is right to give the Justice Department the option of prosecuting CIA abuse cases. A refusal to apply the law would have compounded one betrayal of American values with another.”
- The San Francisco Chronicle has an editorial arguing that “the country needs a workable, tough-minded blueprint on questioning – not torturing – terrorists.”
- The New York Times has a number of short opinion pieces on whether or not to prosecute CIA personnel for past abuses.
08/25/09: The Atlantic has posted the memo that Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta sent to members of the CIA’s workforce prior to the release of the CIA OIG’s report on past abuses.
08/25/09: The LA Times has a short biography of John Durham, who was recently nominated to investigate past CIA abuses.
08/25/09: The Washington Post reports that Justice Department leaders representing both political parties have turned to John H. Durham for most of his three-decade legal career to unravel their most vexing and sensational problems.