The Corner

Holder & ‘a bureaucratic turf battle’

Via e-mail: 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement after the Department of Justice released portions of a CIA IG report on terrorist interrogation and Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was naming a prosecutor to investigate CIA officers engaged in counterterrorism:

“At the same time the situation in Afghanistan is getting decidedly worse and the Taliban is advancing, the Obama Justice Department is launching an investigation that risks disrupting CIA counterterrorism initiatives. This is the last thing that should happen when the president is sending more troops into harm’s way, and the nation’s top military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, said over the weekend that al-Qaeda still remains a threat to America and our interests abroad.

“Attorney General Holder should know that as he increases the focus on America’s past counterterrorism efforts, he is distracting from the CIA’s current counterterrorism efforts. Having recently been forced to drop cases due to prosecutorial misconduct at DOJ, the attorney general argued that these were rare instances and not part of a broader problem. The same can be said of the CIA, where the agency initiated the investigation, reported cases of misconduct and disciplined the officers involved.

“It is important to note that incidences of inappropriate, unauthorized conduct cited in the 2004 IG report were dealt with. The unauthorized conduct has been exhaustively reviewed in the past, including by the committee. That the Obama administration apparently is planning to reopen these cases after thorough review by nonpartisan prosecutors raises serious questions.

“President Obama has said repeatedly that he wants to move forward, but his Justice Department seems intractably stuck in reverse. The message from the administration is completely confused, and the men and women at the CIA who we ask to protect our nation have been left in the lurch.

“The attorney general needs to stop his zealous attempt to make this out to be a systemic problem, when unlike cases such as the 2001 Peru shoot down, the CIA IG did not find evidence that there was a systemic problem. Disgruntled lawyers at DOJ, having lost the debate that America’s counterterrorism efforts should be focused on prevention not prosecution, need to put an end to this bureaucratic turf battle.

“The American people have made it clear, they want the CIA to focus on exactly what its mission should be—disrupting and defeating our nation’s enemies and preventing the next attack.”

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