by Kagro X
The story so far: CIA tortures terror suspects, videotapes it, tells 9/11 Commission tapes don't exist, tells courts tapes don't exist, tapes do exist, court orders government not to destroy tapes, government destroys tapes. And now?
Judge Won't Inquire Into CIA Tapes Case
AP NewsBreak: Judge Refuses to Investigate the Destruction of CIA Interrogation Videos
By MATT APUZZO
The Associated Press
A federal judge refused on Wednesday to delve into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos, saying there was no evidence the Bush administration violated a court order and the Justice Department deserved time to conduct its own investigation.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy was a victory for the Bush administration, which had urged the courts not to wade into a politically charged issue already being investigated by the Justice Department, CIA and Congress.
The CIA has acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects. Lawyers for other terrorism suspects quickly asked Kennedy to hold hearings, saying the executive branch had proved itself unreliable and could not be trusted to investigate its own potential wrongdoing.
Kennedy disagreed, ruling that attorneys hadn't "presented anything to cause this court to question whether the Department of Justice will follow the facts wherever they may lead and live up to the assurances it made to this court."
Oh yeah! Of course! The DOJ is a fantastic self-policer! Absolutely!
After all, the new "Attorney General" cardboard cutout they have standing in place for David Addington says he's got his best guy on the case. So fantastic! Nothing to worry about! Just ask Boston's chief federal judge, Mark L. Wolf how they're doing:
The chief federal judge in Boston has urged the new US attorney general to crack down on prosecutors who commit misconduct and to force Justice Department lawyers to be truthful in court....
"The [Justice] Department's performance in the Auerhahn matter raises serious questions about whether judges should continue to rely upon the department to investigate and sanction misconduct by federal prosecutors," wrote Wolf, who last July, after expressing frustration with his punishment, took the unusual step of asking the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers to launch disciplinary proceedings against Auerhahn.
(h/t: emptywheel -- remember her?)
Whoops! Who would have guessed it? The DOJ has a lousy track record in policing itself, and the rest of the "administration." What a surprise!
Of course, being surprised by that requires you to have ignored the fact that the DOJ has introduced an unprecedented level of politicization into the department, hiring and firing U.S. Attorneys based, it would appear, on their willingness to prosecute flimsy cases against political enemies, and drop strong ones against Bush cronies.
Oh, and the fact that they quashed and eventually shut down their own Office of Professional Responsibility's investigation into the chain of events that led to the authorization of the illegal domestic wiretapping programs that led Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card to try to strong-arm John Ashcroft in his hospital bed.
Oh, and the fact that they are also being sued for destroying
five million possibly as many as 10 million White House e-mails, in violation of the Presidential Records Act, and are in court arguing that they can't be sued because the Presidential Records Act doesn't apply to... the President.
Oh, and that the "administration" has previously lied to federal judges about the very existence of these tapes.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln... Now, back to Judge Kennedy:
Kennedy, a former prosecutor who was appointed to the bench by President Clinton, said he had been assured that the Justice Department would report back if it found evidence that a court order had been violated.
"There is no reason to disregard the Department of Justice's assurances," Kennedy said.
Oh my God, yes there is.
Consider that the government's case that it didn't violate the order is that the order said they couldn't destroy tapes of torture sessions at Guantanamo, but it says these tapes were torture sessions from a different, secret prison.
Nah, no reason to disregard the DOJ's assurances, right? Jeebus Christmas!
Not that it would matter much, anyway. Consider, too, how the DOJ regards judicial oversight (hint: no better than Congressional oversight):
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.
In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who "apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences."
Isn't that precious the way Gonzo said they should defer to Congressional will, too? We all know, of course, what Congressional will should defer to, right? Why, Presidential will, naturally! So really judges generally should just go ahead and defer to the will of the president. Thanks!
So that's the news from Article III. Article II says STFU. The same goes for Article I, by the way. But hold on, what's this?
House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes told ABC News today that he will ignore the Bush administration's request to drop its investigation of why CIA interrogation tapes were destroyed.
"This is an administration that frankly does not have a good track record of policing itself," Reyes said. "We intend to go forward and issue subpoenas next week because we are a whole equal branch of government."
After telling Congress to get out of the way, the Justice Department took the highly unusual step of telling the same thing to a federal judge.
Yes, as covered earlier by smintheus at Daily Kos, House Intel chairman Silvestre Reyes gives the "administration" the finger on this one. And, well, you know what the judge did.
So that's the good news. Now for the hard part. Reyes and his committee have begun issuing some of those totally awesome, freedom fightin' subpoenas we've all heard so much about. All we've gotta do now is... enforce 'em.
Remember back in December when Congress folded on Iraq (again) and then skipped town? Well, one of the other things they skipped town on was voting to actually try to enforce some of those subpoenas that the "administration" laughed at six months ago. They're coming back later this month, though. So I'm sure it's steel cage death match time any day now.
Frankly, I always thought there were too many articles in the Constitution anyway. Why read three when just one will do?