The Department of Justice’s Ethics Office has recommended reopening some prisoner abuse cases. This recommendation has the potential of exposing CIA employees and contractors for prosecution. These people could be charged with brutal treatment of terror suspects.

Volumes of details from a previously unreleased 2004 report are expected to be released today by the CIA Inspector General. There has been a change in direction on this anticipated report which supposedly includes reports of deaths of some held in custody. Attorney General Eric Holder has grown increasingly disgusted with information as it has unfolded regarding treatment of detainees.

According to the New York Times today:

With the release of the details on Monday and the formal advice that at least some cases be reopened, it now seems all but certain that the appointment of a prosecutor or other concrete steps will follow, posing significant new problems for the C.I.A. It is politically awkward, too, for Mr. Holder because President Obama has said that he would rather move forward than get bogged down in the issue at the expense of his own agenda.

The advice from the Office of Professional Responsibility strengthens Mr. Holder’s hand.

The recommendation to review the closed cases, in effect renewing the inquiries, centers mainly on allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Justice Department report is to be made public after classified information is deleted from it.

The cases represent about half of those that were initially investigated and referred to the Justice Department by the C.I.A.’s inspector general, but were later closed. It is not known which cases might be reopened.

The implications of this article are mammoth. In all probability, a special prosecutor will be appointed. There has never been a public explanation why information from this report was never pursued. The report itself has been the topic of much debate across both the Bush administration and the Obama administration.

This political hot potato has the potential to redirect all Washington talk for a while. Have civilians been prosecuted for war time misdeeds? Have previous adminstration been held accountable like this in the past? Will Democrats and Republicans grow even more angry at each other as Eric Holder attempts to navigate this field of land mines?


Additional readingWashington Post

10 Thoughts to “DOJ Recommends Reopening Prisoner Abuse Cases”

  1. El Guapo

    Catch and fry a few small fish. The supervisors all the way up to the top will claim that they never authorized these procedures and that these isolated incidents were the acts of a few rogues. That will be the end of it. Maybe some small fish will serve some time. Maybe they’ll find a Lynndie England to be a poster child.

  2. Moon-howler

    And the real culprits will escape? Isn’t that the way it always goes? Lt. Calley comes to my mind.

  3. ShellyB

    I think people who abuse power should be brought to justice whether big fish or small. It will be interesting to see if there is a trial, if the torture policy will be brought up as a defense. “I was just following orders,” may not have worked during past war crimes trials, but there is something to be said for the argument here.

    It wasn’t like the Bush administration was openly committing war crimes. They were very cautious to create a legal structure under which war crimes were no longer crimes. In that sort of environment, it is understandable that a small fish would think the big fish want them to torture. I have sympathy for the small fish, and even the big fish who were traumatized by their failure to respond to the warnings from their intelligence sources before 9/11.

  4. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Initially, I have to approve of this. I think this could be the Dems version of the Clinton impeachment! It’ll tear our nation’s intelligence gathering apart (already reports of an obscenity-laced screaming match between Panetta and an Obama staffer). It’s clearly a political distraction, and another about-face for Obama (we’re going to look forward, not backward). I’m thinking this could blow up on Dems BIG TIME!! Gotta give it big props! Go Dems!

  5. Moon-howler

    Slowpoke, I am not sure this country can stand the divisiveness releasing that report is going to cause. I don’t think it is actually up to Obama at this point. Would you prefer him to trump DOJ, Holder, and the CIA Inspector General and continue the cover up?

    I never wanted my country destroyed even when I was angry at George Bush. I may not have liked some things he did but I wanted him to succeed.

  6. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I would NEVER ask Obama to trump the DoJ (Black Panthers in Philly). Me, I’m a fan of divisiveness. I do think if there’s anyone left on the fence, this should help push them off one way or the other. Cover-up? Of what, though? I put scaring the poop out of terrorists who want as many Americans dead as possible right up there with impeaching Clinton over squirtin’ all over an intern…..BFD. Bottom line is the Dems are now aiming their guns right where they want them…at the people who work to keep us safe. I abso’friggen’lutely love it!

  7. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    We should start a pool, who gives odds on Panetta quitting in disgust?

  8. Moon-howler

    Slow, my concern over terrorists really has to be faked. I just can’t muster up real care. However, from what I have read and am hearing, some fairly nasty things happened. Now, why should I care? I don’t give a rat’s ass about the terrorists. If something horribly bad happened to them, I would not shed a tear. BUT…I care about how Americans conduct themselves.

    There seems to be a push me/pull me, depending on which party is at the helm. If the conduct was legal, then neither side should fear exposure and sunshine.

  9. kelly3406

    Did anyone see the front-page article in the Washington Post about Khalid Sheik Mohammed providing reams of valuable intelligence AFTER waterboarding?

  10. kelly3406

    These hearings are a really bad idea. Just as the Church Hearings in 1973 decimated HUMINT (human intelligence) for a generation, these proposed hearings could produce the same result. Without good HUMINT, the U.S. had no forewarning that the Shah of Iran was about to fall, Russia was about to implode, or the World Trade Center was to be attacked.

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