August 24th, 2009
03:06 PM ET
9 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



“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.”


Filed under: CIA • Eric Holder
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Right wingers love torture and war. You conservatives are a bunch of skunks. You suck!!

    August 24, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Rags Thornton

    Now just what do you think this prosecutor will find? He's working for Obama/Holder, isn't he? Will this kangaroo court be televised?

    August 24, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Okay, this worked before the election, not gonna happen to divert our attention elsewhere.

    August 24, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Rags Thornton

    Holder, please investigate if there is monumental breaking of the law by the president, since he will not prove he is a citizen of the US.

    August 24, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. rocky

    about time! the bush administration threw our constitution and international treaties in the trash. thank you for helping to restore our dignity president obama!

    August 24, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. J

    It looks to me like GOP is full of lies,
    No one should be above the law and that includes previous Adminstrations.

    August 24, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Carlos

    The fair skinned one had to do something to take the heat off of his creation of another goverment entity he created today to keep watch of interrogation of suspects, plus he created another job, another czar.

    August 24, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Big Ed

    Well, the ultra-fright-wing nut-jobs are back at it again! I support the troops that were sent out to these wars, but if the politicians and political hacks did something illegal, then prosecute them! If the shoe was on the othjer foot, the Republicans would be crying for someones head! I mean look what's going on and these Bozos are sceaming for President Obama's birth certificate! They should be much more concerned with the damage that has been done to our nation's standing in the world as well as the further danger torturing others brings to our troops. I guess when you join the Republican Party you have to swear allegence to Rush, believe all tripe and conspiricy theories that is placed before you and throw logic out the door (as well as the Constitution!) WAKE UP!

    August 24, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Rose

    What happened to the comment Obama made about going forward.
    He has gone over board blaming the previous adm. for everything. Well, he sure does own the national debt now, can't blame that one on Bush anymore. It is above him to say he could be wrong on anything, he is not perfect as the recent polls are showing.

    August 24, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. victim of republican greed

    As we read the posts one would ask: How is it possible for a right wing nut to justify violating what America stands and violating the rules of the Geneva Convention, and then object to a non partisan investigation?

    August 24, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. redleg

    Since when is torturing captives brave and heroic? Is it since the Romans gave the treatment to someone who palled around with terrorists and whose followers thought he was king?

    August 24, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. victim of republican greed

    I am amazed at how many right wing nuts felt more secure nowing that torture gained false information which did not help in the war against terror.

    August 24, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Emmanuel Goldstein

    I recall someone once said "we no longer want to send terrorists to jail; we want to send them to hell." Guess that's old news.

    And, FWIW, it was no less than Darth Cheney who warned shortly after 9/11, that if we were to succeed at combatting the terrorists, we were going to have to do some unsavory things. He also questioned whether Americans had the stomache for it. At the time, America's response was "hell yes, do it." Guess those guys should have gotten it in writing, eh?

    August 24, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. ETM

    For the dummies attacking Obama over this, the AG has merely opened a preliminary investigation to determine if some of these interrogations broke the law. You Obama haters do remember we are a nation of laws, right? You want Obama to read the Constitution–try doing that yourselves! The Constitution and treaties to which we are signatories prohibit torture, so the rule of law requires that we investigate and possibly prosecute those who violated these fundamental strictures.

    Now what part of this can the wing nuts not understand?

    August 24, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Jefe

    If there was a crime committed, it was by those who ultimately gave the orders. I want our military and intelligence community following orders, I just want those giving the orders to be doing the right thing.

    August 24, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Yossi Gesner

    Very Smart. all major crimes in the U.S. are solved; all missing kids are back at home, and no corrupted ppl serve in public office, so now it's really time to for Justice to bust up the bad guys at the CIA for being bad to those who killed 3,000 Americans.

    Yeah, it makes sense to me.


    August 24, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Rick In OP

    Brilliant Mr. President, absolutely brilliant.
    Prosecute, or more appropriately persecute, the people who protected us since 2001. You are following the same disastrous path that Jimmy Carter and Frank Church used in the 1970’s to cripple the intelligence gathering capability of this country that allowed the attacks of 9/11 to occur.
    I am sure that many scrawny little nerds are sitting in Starbucks, sipping their lattes and rejoicing over the news. I hope they remember this when Ramzi el Ka Boom walks into their local shopping mall wearing a suicide vest and detonates it in the middle of a crowd. Scrawny nerds always feel more self righteous when holding a candle in a memorial vigil. It’s a lot easier than trying to prevent the attack in the first place.

    August 24, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    The investigation of the CIA is absolutely pointless. These people were following orders. The Bush administration officials who issued these orders and the lawyers who said it was legal should be brought to justice.
    If you give a monkey a gun and the monkey goes out and shoots somebody, ya don't blame the monkey, you blame the guy that gave the monkey the gun!
    If you give the CIA orders to go and torture somebody, don't blame the CIA when they torture somebody, blame the one who issued the order.

    August 24, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. trueblue

    Finally, those who trashed our constitution may see some justice (though I'm sure someone will pardon them).

    August 24, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Torch

    Holder should do us all a favor and brush his teeth with a loaded revolver.

    Dems, once again can't figure out who the bad guys are.

    Pathetic one term administration.

    August 24, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. mike

    uhbama and the spendocrats are getting spanked on health care, so it's time to change the subject and blame President Bush for something.

    August 24, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. PD

    Yes! Let us come quickly to the aid and defense of those who are threatening to destroy us! We must treat everyone as if they are an American citizen and afford them our rights even if they wish complete elimination of our way of life. Brilliant.

    To the fine men and women of the CIA and Armed Forces, all of you field agents – keep it up. whatever you do to keep them at bay and keep us safe, please continue. I would never ask that those of you who risk your lives to defend this nation against these zealots and degenerates to do so under the restrictions of treating them like equals. Treat them like animals, or preferably worse. Thank you

    August 24, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. victim of republican greed

    Love reading the comments from the treason advocating anti american right wing nuts.

    August 24, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Emmanuel Goldstein

    I think we all need to have a collective get-together to air our differences on this issue, and reach some form of resolution.
    I also suggest we bring baseball bats. That will hasten resolution-finding and concensus-building.

    August 24, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Florence

    No one needs to demonize the republicans. They are evil and deserve to be punish for their malicious act. I hope they all go to jail.
    Furthermore, I think as citizen of this country we all should file a civil class action law suit against the Bush and his cronies and take all the money they made during these 8 years of dirty dealings. Black Water included. Oh I forgot, they already moved their business out of here and set shop in Bahrain, right? So before they all scatter like a rat, let’s get them.

    August 24, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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