In the immediate aftermath, one of the most curious responses of the Democrats has been the almost uniform call for an investigation of the destruction of the CIA tapes by the Bush Administration itself. Now, at least Sen. Joe Biden is calling for a special counsel.
The idea of the Bush Administration investigating itself in this matter is ridiculous. The Justice Department has a long history of slow-walking investigations and narrowly defining crimes to avoid any indictments of government officials. More importantly, what we know of this controversy shows two things that should support the appointment of a special counsel: First, there are clear and compelling allegations of criminal acts. This is not some speculation of crimes. Both Congress and the courts were seeking this information. Moreover, the underlying acts of torture were crimes. Finally, these individuals had a right to these tapes to show their own abuse in their own trials.
Second, the possible criminal conspiracy crosses agency lines and could possibly involve the Justice Department itself. It clearly now includes the White House (through Harriet Miers) and of course the CIA.The preference for a Justice Department investigation would confirm for many that the fix is in, again, in Washington. These are incredibly disturbing allegations that rival Watergate in their scope and seriousness. Strangely, few seem (like Biden) to be demanding a truly independent investigation.
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