i’ve been off enjoying my extended
holidays, so i am late to this party. as
EW has already noted, today’s announcement
is news-worthy mostly because it represents u.s.
attorney general michael mukasey’s
preliminary concurrence that crimes may
very well have occurred when the torture
tapes were destroyed — and “not so much”
because an “out-of-district” u.s. atty.
was appointed to run the f.b.i. through
its paces in preparing grand jury in-
formation/charging letters. . .
this is a good sign — but is essentialy
what mukasey said he would do, about two
weeks ago, now: not appoint a special counsel
[think patrick j. fitzgerald, in libby, here] — just
let the DoJ process, under his leadership,
do its job. . . i think, given the little
i’ve read of durham, that this will work.
here is the full non-“special” prosecutor
announcement from attorney general mukasey, today:
Statement by Attorney General
Michael B. Mukasey Regarding the
Opening of an Investigation Into the
Destruction of Videotapes by CIA PersonnelFollowing a preliminary inquiry into the destruction by CIA personnel of videotapes of detainee interrogations, the Department’s National Security Division has recommended, and I have concluded, that there is a basis for initiating a criminal investigation of this matter, and I have taken steps to begin that investigation as outlined below.
This preliminary inquiry was conducted jointly by the Department’s National Security Division and the CIA’s Office of Inspector General. It was opened on December 8, 2007, following disclosure by CIA Director Michael Hayden on December 6, 2007, that the tapes had been destroyed. A preliminary inquiry is a procedure the Department of Justice uses regularly to gather the initial facts needed to determine whether there is sufficient predication to warrant a criminal investigation of a potential felony or misdemeanor violation. The opening of an investigation does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow.
An investigation of this kind, relating to the CIA, would ordinarily be conducted under the supervision of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the District in which the CIA headquarters are located. However, in an abundance of caution and on the request of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in accordance with Department of Justice policy, his office has been recused from the investigation of this matter, in order to avoid any possible appearance of a conflict with other matters handled by that office.
As a result, I have asked John Durham, the First Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, to serve as Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia for purposes of this matter. Mr. Durham is a widely respected and experienced career prosecutor who has supervised a wide range of complex investigations in the past, and I am grateful to him for his willingness to serve in this capacity. As the Acting United States Attorney for purposes of this investigation, Mr. Durham will report to the Deputy Attorney General, as do all United States Attorneys in the ordinary course. I have also directed the FBI to conduct the investigation under Mr. Durham’s supervision.
Earlier today, the Department provided notice of these developments to Director Hayden and the leadership of the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees of the Congress.
more updates, with durham’s
prior briefs, and arguments,
in various older criminal
cases, to come. . . shortly.
but here is a recent bio:
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT* March 1994 – Present (except for interim service as United States Attorney and Counsel to the U.S. Attorney) – Deputy United States Attorney: Supervises all Assistant U.S. Attorneys assigned in the three offices of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut; evaluates, prepares and prosecutes major felony cases within the District with special emphasis on complex criminal matters
* January 1999 – Present – Special Attorney, District of Massachusetts, Head of Justice Task Force reviewing alleged criminal conduct of FBI and other law enforcement corruption in Boston, MA
* September 1989 – March 1994 – Assistant United States Attorney (Chief, Criminal Division): Supervised all Criminal Division Assistant U.S. Attorneys assigned in the three offices of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut; evaluated, prepared and prosecuted major felony cases within the District with special emphasis on organized crime matters
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ORGANIZED
CRIME AND RACKETEERING SECTION
(Boston Strike Force/New Haven Field Office)
* December 1982 – September 1989 — Supervised the New Haven Field Office of the Boston Strike Force from June 1987 until September 1989; evaluated, prepared, and prosecuted major RICO and RICO-related cases directed at Gambino, Genovese, and Patriarca LCN members and associates operating within the District of Connecticut
OFFICE OF THE STATE’S ATTORNEY
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
* November 1978 – December 1982 – Assistant State’s Attorney: Supervised operation of the Career Criminal Unit of the State’s Attorney’s Office; evaluated, prepared, and prosecuted major violent felony cases against repeat offenders; supervised work of all Unit attorneys, inspectors, and staff
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF
* September 1977 – November 1978 – Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney: Preparation and prosecution of criminal cases in various criminal courts throughout the State of Connecticut; preparation and argument of appeals; preparation of legal memoranda, grand materials, and research data