August 24th, 2009
03:06 PM ET
5 years ago

Justice asks prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogation

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Justice Department has asked federal prosecutor John Durham to examine whether CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists were illegal, a source told CNN.

Related: Prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogations, source says

Full statement from the Justice Department after the jump

STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER REGARDING A PRELIMINARY REVIEW INTO

THE INTERROGATION OF CERTAIN DETAINEES

“The Office of Professional Responsibility has now submitted to me its report regarding the Office of Legal Counsel memoranda related to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. I hope to be able to make as much of that report available as possible after it undergoes a declassification review and other steps. Among other findings, the report recommends that the Department reexamine previous decisions to decline prosecution in several cases related to the interrogation of certain detainees.

“I have reviewed the OPR report in depth. Moreover, I have closely examined the full, still-classified version of the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report, as well as other relevant information available to the Department. As a result of my analysis of all of this material, I have concluded that the information known to me warrants opening a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. The Department regularly uses preliminary reviews to gather information to determine whether there is sufficient predication to warrant a full investigation of a matter. I want to emphasize that neither the opening of a preliminary review nor, if evidence warrants it, the commencement of a full investigation, means that charges will necessarily follow.

“Assistant United States Attorney John Durham was appointed in 2008 by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations. During the course of that investigation, Mr. Durham has gained great familiarity with much of the information that is relevant to the matter at hand. Accordingly, I have decided to expand his mandate to encompass this related review. Mr. Durham, who is a career prosecutor with the Department of Justice and who has assembled a strong investigative team of experienced professionals, will recommend to me whether there is sufficient predication for a full investigation into whether the law was violated in connection with the interrogation of certain detainees.

“There are those who will use my decision to open a preliminary review as a means of broadly criticizing the work of our nation’s intelligence community. I could not disagree more with that view. The men and women in our intelligence community perform an incredibly important service to our nation, and they often do so under difficult and dangerous circumstances. They deserve our respect and gratitude for the work they do. Further, they need to be protected from legal jeopardy when they act in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance. That is why I have made it clear in the past that the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees. I want to reiterate that point today, and to underscore the fact that this preliminary review will not focus on those individuals.

“I share the President’s conviction that as a nation, we must, to the extent possible, look forward and not backward when it comes to issues such as these. While this Department will follow its obligation to take this preliminary step to examine possible violations of law, we will not allow our important work of keeping the American people safe to be sidetracked.

“I fully realize that my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial. As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law. In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.”

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Filed under: CIA • Eric Holder
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Jeanne

    Distraction! Gets everyone off new deficit #'s, health care, etc, etc.

    Nothing is ever what it seems with this administration.

    August 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Oh please, nobody is getting spanked and bush's administration didn't protect us from anything. Remember 9/11? Those who killed 3,000+ are also dead!
    Have you people heard about Ridge's book? Do you even read anything besides CNN? The previous administration was all about lies and terror (except it was domestic).
    Wake up and smell a better administration. the cheney years were some of the worst in our country's history.

    August 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. MJ

    Let's just put the terrorists up in a Bed & Breakfast. Why are we even questioning the actions? These people killed our loved ones. I praise our military. Why don't you?

    August 24, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    Go ahead and dig some more. As if this hasn't been milked for all it is worth already. These liberal public relations antics are getting pathetic. And boring.

    August 24, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. John

    Investigate:

    1. Why Bush lied about Iraq's WMDs.

    2. Who Created a False Intelligence Report that Iraq had WMD's

    August 24, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. joe smith

    this witch hunt is no different than mai-lai..it's always the grunts who get the labels..but, in this hunt, try some real sicko's for a change..Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney; bet they don't have the backbone for that one..

    August 24, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. ANGIE IN PA

    You right Wingers claim you love the Constitution and abide by it well BUSH/CHENEY Shredded the Constituiton and your all ok with it nutcases?

    August 24, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Obama camp playing the "I Hate Bush" card again!

    Well here we go again. When the polls start to turn against Obama and the ridiculous Democrats because of their grab for power with their – so called health reform plan – time to whip out the "I hate Bush" rhetoric to take everyone's mind off of being duped by their power grab. Are the American people that stupid? I bet every foaming at the mouth Bush hater will stand up and be counted on to dutifully step in line to what the Democrats want. It's so predictable. It's so pathetic.

    August 24, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. G SMITH PA

    STOP GOING BACKWARDS. President Bush kept us safe for eight years. He was a very successful President, something Obama will never know about. He can't tell us his accomplishments because he has none. REPUBLICANS back in power in 2010 and 2012.

    August 24, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. J.P.

    What's that?! Obama's numbers are sinking faster than the Titanic?! Public support of liberal healthcare "reform" are literally in the toilet?!!

    Quick!! Hurry! Blame Bush for something! ANYTHING!

    Just get the Uhbamassiah's plummeting approval numbers off the front page!

    Quick!
    "Uh, well, er... uh... 'Bush's fault!'"

    ("Nothing to see here. Keep moving... 'these aren't the droids you're looking for.'") Honestly, CNN, how dumb do you think Americans are? This isn't our first rodeo.

    August 24, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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