AG Holder Considering Special Prosecutor for Bush Interrogation Policy

When Daniel Klaidman published a story on NEWSWEEK‘s website last Saturday regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s leaning toward the appointment of a special prosecutor charged with investigating the Bush era interrogation policy, my initial reaction was excitement.  That feeling was deflated by this week, but not entirely.

Klaidman’s Holder story is eloquently written.  It is a must read for anyone interested in seeing the Bush administration held accountable for their torture program.  The author provides his readers with clear insight into Holder’s Department of Justice, its relationship to, and interactions with Obama and his staff.  Klaidman concludes that Holder’s likely decision is being made in the interest of justice, despite the political complications inherent in an investigation of the previous administration.

Since Klaidman’s article was published, my excitement over the news has been, somewhat, lessened.  It appears that any special prosecutor — Klaidman reports that Holder is presently considering 10 individuals for the job — would have one of their hands tied behind his or her back by limiting the scope of a torture investigation to those who violated Bush lawyers’ legal guidance for interrogation.

In this clip from The Rachael Maddow Show, July 13, Maddow discusses the matter, along with the anticipated caveats, with NEWSWEEK reporter, Michal Isikoff:

Despite the restrictive conditions, I remain optimistic that the appointment of a special prosecutor could eventually lead to those who crafted the interrogation policy, up to and including George W. Bush.  Feel free to tell me that I’m out of my mind for thinking so, but once investigations of this sort begin, they have a tendency of going wherever the evidence takes them, finding their way around preconceived constraints.


I came across this Harper’s post from Scott Horton, by way of a Jeremy Scahill post at Rebel Reports.  Horton’s Monday post totally reinforced my earlier optimism.  Horton, a constitutional & military law expert, explains why any constraints placed upon a special prosecutor should be meaningless:

As soon as the special prosecutor gets into the facts relating to the use of the Bush-approved techniques, he will deal with the claims of interrogators and deeply implicated contractors like James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen that they were acting under instructions from higher up the chain and in accordance with guidance delivered by senior CIA officials and political appointees, both oral and written. The special prosecutor will have to examine the bona fides of these claims and investigate the guidance that was given and whether it comported with law. In other words, the conduct of Bush Administration officials may well not be implicated in the specific tasking document issued by Holder, but it would be raised by way of affirmative defense by the interrogators and contractors. The special prosecutor will not be able ultimately to avoid looking at these questions if he or she pursues the job credibly…

Image from user:  castingnews - by way of


Robert H.
Robert H.7 years ago

A while back, Sue said, "I really fail to see where you get bashing our troops falls into this category when all they are doing is following orders."
"Following Orders" -I thought we were about to get back on topic re Torture, Geneva, Nuremburg and all that irrelevant 'ancient history stuff', but I guess not.

Robert B.
Robert B.7 years ago
Proving that European atheists don't give a rip about jihadists either, here is Pat Condell. "(H)e (too) is suffering from an inferiority complex at the least, or is a sociopath at the worst." Just like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, just like the martyred, yes, martyred Theo Van Gogh.

HEY, its almost a MONTH. Where's the Special Prosecutor? Is he over here? No. Is he over there? No. Where is he?
Well maybe by Christmas!! LOL!

Wonder if you'd read something if its on Huff Post

Thomas S.
7 years ago

"Borrowed quote from another post: "And due to the consistency of this behavior pattern,....."

It refers to Robert B.

Skip C.
Skip C.7 years ago

Is that a photo of AG Holder or the felon, William Jefferson (D-LA)? Hard to tell the difference.

Skip C.
Skip C.7 years ago

Borrowed quote from another post: "And due to the consistency of this behavior pattern, I can only come to the conclusion that he is suffering from an inferiority complex at the least, or is a sociopath at the worst."

I believe this must refer to AG Holder's and Aaron Penell's perceptions of reality regarding the Bush administration's prosecution of terrorism.

Just wondering: can either AG Holder or Aaron Pendell answer this question in less than a second:

What year did "9/11" occur?

I wonder if they even care.

Robert B.
Robert B.7 years ago

"...Now we stand here...
Laura Ling, at LAX, on her return from North Korea.

Thomas S.
7 years ago

And due to the consistency of this behavior pattern, I can only come to the conclusion that he is suffering from an inferiority complex at the least, or is a sociopath at the worst.

Thomas S.
7 years ago

I honestly don't think he has that capability, Sue.

sue w.
sue M.7 years ago

Robert, It seems you set yourself up to be on the offensive with the intention to knock people down all the time. Can't you talk with someone normally with reality and some understanding instead of all this sarcastic "know it all" assumptions?
It makes you look nasty and stupid (which I know you are not) and I am sure somewhere in there you are actually a nice guy.
It really is okay to disagree without all the additives and alienating people.

Robert B.
Robert B.7 years ago

Let me guess your little expedition to Holland was either academic or I think maybe with the art and music crowd. Yeah hanging with that crowd in the bars in Amsterdam that makes you know what its all about there.

Why did your Dutch friends expel Ayaan Hirsi Ali from Parliament, why do they not protect her from Islamist extremists?