mukasey’s letter to congress re torture tapes: there’s really not too much there, beyond what’s plain on the face of it.

at the outset, let me acknowledge that
while there are some reasons to be skeptical
of michael mukasey, i don’t think his letters
today are among them. i was ambivalent about
his confirmation — but did feel he was a step
forward from ‘berto. i could be proved foolish
here, and very shortly so, but i think mukasey
can handle this investigation scrupulously.

we do know that mukasey is nothing, if
he is not independent — and i read his
latest as little more than that. i
think — as others have said — he
was more than a little perturbed
by some of the early congressional
offers of immunity in the fired u.s.
attys. scandal; so is it probable he wants
to be sure there are no precipitous
offers of immunity to torturers, tapers,
or tape-destroyers — or even to lawyers
whose opinions offered comfort to the above?

i think so.

other, very wise, people have written that
they see a conflicts of interest here, for
micheal mukasey — the putative conflicts
arising from his former role as a judge
in one of the terror cases that relied,
in part, on evidence from one of the taped
torture sessions. . .

i am not sure i fully-follow that line of
reasoning — i think any judge has some
small interest in not being “overturned
on appeal — and while this situation is
not exactly that one, it is akin to it.

so, are we seriously suggesting that as a judge,
michael mukasey’s sense of judicial legitimacy
would be so frail as to be afraid of
what this investigation might bring?
do we really believe he would, in any
way, stand for the burying of evidence
that the statements used in earlier
trials — some of which he presided
over — were derived, even in part,
from improper questioning
techiniques — a polite way to
say that they were very likely
the product of torture?

i think he will express indignation if
and when it turns out that govt. lawyers
offered him evidence that was derived from
torture. and he will appear, and be, all
the more courtly for having done so.

so with all due respect to my fellow bloggers,
i don’t see this concern as a very deep one. . .

i just don’t see that a series of in-
vestigations into how the tapes were
ordered destroyed, as well as into
whether anyone inside the DoJ [note:
long before mukasey arrived on the
scene] knew of the existence of the
tapes, when the various pleadings in
the various terror cases were filed
by DoJ lawyers — puts mukasey in any
real sort of conflicted position.

sure, he’d like to think that his earlier
decisions were based on solid evidence,
but unless someone thinks that — at the
time he ruled — mukasey had reason to
believe the statements were the product
of torture, this really isn’t very different
than a judge being asked to make additional
findings on a case remanded from a higher
court, back to his or her trial court.
mukasey’s primary goal, i think, will be
to make sure that impatial justice is done.

that is just my gut talking.

p e a c e

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