CIA-Prison Investigation Closed

by Shannen W. Coffin

This story should not get lost in the convention shuffle. From the Wall Street Journal:

The Justice Department said Thursday it won’t bring charges in the deaths of two prisoners who allegedly were interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, closing a chapter in a nearly decade-old debate about the CIA’s counterterrorism programs.

 The department had already dropped most of the cases stemming from accusations that the CIA and other agencies committed abuses against detainees held by the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But Attorney General Eric Holder last year ordered a criminal investigation into two detainee deaths, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, saying new evidence was available.

 On Thursday, Mr. Holder said that remaining investigation also would be dropped. “The admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

Remember that Holder reopened this investigation in 2009, despite the Bush administration’s earlier review of the cases and decision not to prosecute. So Holder’s political decision to reopen the case — described by one source in the article linked above as “corrosive” — dragged the intelligence community through three more years of ultimately unnecessary handwringing over events that had already been investigated and cleared.  

Not content to “clear” anyone, Holder left the cloud of suspicion hanging over the intelligence community in his announcement. The Department of Justice declined prosecution “because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.” We would not want anyone to think that Eric Holder thinks career intelligence employees are innocent, would we? 

“Holder would have saved time and money by accepting what the career prosecutors recommended years ago,” said John Radsan, a former CIA counsel.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The Corner

The one and only.