On a Saturday, the Justice Department and the CIA announced that they would conduct internal investigations of the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes. The announcements are clearly designed to forestall an effort to have an independent counsel or independent investigation, which is clearly called for in this instance.
As noted earlier on this site, there are at least six indictable offenses alleged and at least a dozen potential suspects in this alleged conspiracy. Given the involvement of the White House and the CIA, it should be obvious that an independent investigation is needed. After all, the Justice Department at least appointed a U.S. Attorney from Chicago in the Libby affair. This scandal is a hundred times more serious than the Libby matter.
The CIA internal investigation is hardly worth discussing. The CIA has a long history of whitewash investigations and lacks any credibility in this matter. The Justice Department, however, is little better in its own record of policing its own conduct.
This is not some speculative charge of misconduct. On its face, there are obvious indictable offenses here. The matter should be investigated outside of the Justice Department and the CIA. Yet, there are many in Congress — including some Democrats — that want to give the appearance of an investigation while allowing the matter to die with time. A Justice Department investigation guarantees that the matter will proceed as a glacial pace under the control of the Bush Administration. Thus, the rush to announce their own investigation. It is really an announcement that no one else will investigate by occupying the field. As for Congress, any serious investigation would be a departure for both parties. The scandal is now being “managed” in a classic beltway fashion. What will be lacking is any serious intent to do anything about these alleged crimes.
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