U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said.
A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be narrow in scope, focusing on "whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized" in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws.
Current and former CIA and Justice Department officials who have firsthand knowledge of the interrogation files contend that criminal convictions will be difficult to obtain because the quality of evidence is poor and the legal underpinnings have never been tested.Regardless of the finer points of federal statutes that might make for a riveting discussion in a law school classroom, let's remember one thing. As a practical matter the problem for investigation zealots is that no one outside of the Beltway media echo chamber and the "detainee lobby" cares about this. And in terms of safeguarding America, what purpose will be served (other than self-serving rhetoric) in the course of this investigation by publicly revealing sensitive intelligence techniques or hauling counter-terrorism officials in front of show trials?