Judge reluctant to open CIA inquiry

A federal judge appeared reluctant Friday to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes while the Justice Department is conducting its own inquiry.

U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy is considering whether to delve into the matter and, if so, how deeply. The Bush administration is urging him to back off while it investigates.

“Why should the court not permit the Department of Justice to do just that?” Kennedy asked at a court hearing.

The hearing marked the first time the administration has been forced into court about the matter since the CIA disclosed this month it destroyed the tapes of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects.

Government lawyer Joseph Hunt said the joint Justice Department-CIA investigation into the destruction of the videos will also seek evidence of whether the government violated any court orders. Hunt promised the judge that, when the investigation is complete, lawyers will tell the court if its rules were violated.

“It would be unwise and imprudent” for the judge to investigate further, Hunt said.

The judge had ordered the government not to destroy any evidence of mistreatment or abuse at the Navy base in Cuba. Because the two suspects — Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were being held overseas in secret CIA prisons, however, they are likely not covered by the order.

David Remes, a lawyer for Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, argues the destruction of the tapes may have violated a court order and may indicate that other evidence was also destroyed. Remes noted that the government was prohibited from destroying any evidence that could be relevant in a case, even if not directly noted in a court order.

“We have a smoking gun, as it were, with respect to the government’s destruction of potentially relevant evidence,” Remes said.

Remes urged the court not to take a back seat to the executive branch, which destroyed the documents in the first place.

“The Justice Department may have sanctioned the destruction of these videotapes,” attorney David Remes said. “Now they are asking the court to stay out, on the ground it is investigating the destruction of these videotapes.”

Kennedy, who was appointed to the bench by President Clinton, did not immediately say what he would do. A former prosecutor, he said it was the Justice Department’s job to investigate crimes and appeared reluctant to interfere with that process.

The Justice Department is particularly concerned that Kennedy will order government officials to testify in the case. Such an overlapping investigation could hinder or even torpedo an ongoing criminal investigation, government attorneys said.

Remes said he has no plans to ask for such testimony but would not rule it out. Specifically, he named senior Bush administration officials who reportedly were involved in discussions about the tapes: Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers, both former White House counsels; John Bellinger, then a lawyer at the National Security Council, and David Addington, a senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

4 Responses to "Judge reluctant to open CIA inquiry"

  1. Sandra Price  December 22, 2007 at 5:22 am

    The corruption is complete! Maybe we should just remove our borders and let it all go! If this doesn’t prove that our nation is, in fact, a Christian Nation with all crimes being justified, I’ll buy drinks on Christmas Eve.

    Carl, I do not blame Capitalism but the government abusing Americans for their own greed. It is a private club that probably started at Yale with secret pledges to destroy equality and abuse Americans who will not jump through the hoop.

    If we let Bush off the hook again and again, we are no better than the Administration. How did so many Americans fall into this religious frenzy that has allowed Bush to walk all over us?

    Maybe in the next civilization that develops on this planet, some free and rational thinking might appear. We have no one running for POTUS who will clean up the corruption. Even the White House has to cave in eventually.

    The Bush Administration will go out in a blaze of glory handing the keys to the oval office to another criminal.

  2. Nogood  December 21, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Another judge in Bush’s back pocket????

    Don’t hold your breath while the Justice Dept. does their “investigating”.

  3. SEAL  December 21, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    Should the fox be asked to find out who stole the chickens from the hen house?

    When is one of these judges going to grow a pair and make these bastards stand up in court under oath and answer questions?

  4. Carl Nemo  December 22, 2007 at 3:21 am

    So in addition to Congress being corrupt along with the Executive Branch, so too is the Judicial Branch.

    The Constitution and the very essence of the United States of America has been compromised. For all practical purpose we no longer have a viable government, overseen by a body of law that’s enforced by the Justice Department. The ruling elite live by a set of different rules than “we the groundlings”, they evidently the predators and we their prey…no?!

    The CIA is guilty of illegal rendition and is being pursued by a host of nations via the courts for them having violated their national sovereignty by kidnaping citizens off their streets then flying them to CIA clandestine prisons located mostly in former East block nations etc. The CIA is guilty of illegal torture procedures with water-boarding actually small potatos in their arsenal of interrogation techniques.

    So instead of this judge forging on and doing what’s right for “we the people” and the rule of law, he’s more interested in protecting a cabal of corrupt executive branch interlopers.

    This nation cannot stand with a continual stream of this nonsense. Is this going to be the order of the day post Bushco? Will the next regime continue on with this flagrant disrespect for the rule of law? It seems so.

    Clinton set the meter and the pace with Monica and his infamous cigar foreplay, followed by Bush/Cheney who are outright crooks having escaped from the seedy underbelly of corrupt corporate America into the Whitehouse.

    We are witnessing an Executive Branch version of Kenny Lay, convicted CEO of ENRON (deceased), Bernie Evers, convicted CEO of Worldcom (in jail), Dennis Kozlowski, convicted CEO of TYCO, (in jail, on appeal) et. al., ad nauseam ad infinitum, except that Bush and Cheney haven’t been brought to justice as they should be. These two consider the U.S. Treasury their personal “piggy-bank” and the laws of this nation are no different than rules of corporate governance that are broken 24/7/365 by this nations cabal of corrupt, pirate capitalist CEO’s;ie., every day in every way…!

    http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Cheneys_stock_options_rose_3281_last_1011.html
    http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0819-03.htm
    http://www.deepcool.com/georgejr/

    Carl Nemo **==

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