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 reading: Washington Post