CNN reported on Monday, August 24, 2009, that Attorney General Eric Holder has expanded the role of federal prosecutor John Durham.
Mr. Durham had been investigating CIA interrogations of detainees in overseas locations who were suspected of engaging in terrorist activities. He now will be looking for evidence that the interrogations were illegal.
Do your antennae go up?
Think back to the 1950s, when a Senator from Wisconsin began investigating the State Department, searching for communists. Fast-forward 50 years. We now have a prosecutor investigating the Central Intelligence Agency, searching for torturers.
I imagine we will all be hearing the term “witch hunt” thrown around a bit while the investigation takes place. The idea of searching to see if a crime has been committed is typically an idea with political overtones.
What is to be gained?
It seems that the main hope of the investigation is to discredit high-profile Republicans. These are the people who made decisions based on the substance of the problem, not the political consequences. They will be characterized as “torturers on stilts.”
Maybe there will be some collateral damage visited upon these people, with obstruction of justice or perjury charges brought forward. But be on the lookout for some “McCarthy-like” consequences.
Our anti-Republican culture has its roots in the legal and educational systems in America, as well as the entertainment industry and federal agencies. The idea that Republicans are dictating the methods used by the CIA will not go far in an agency dominated by non-Republicans. There will be major risk to non-Republicans, and that is when the investigation will stop.
In the meantime, the fireworks should be interesting. Here in Denver, we had a witch hunt of sorts over some vandalism to a local Democratic Party headquarters building. The search for the Republican perpetrators came to an abrupt end when the primary suspect turned out to be a Democratic Party activist.
That may be a shorthand version of what is set to take place at the CIA. The search for meaning to the word “torture” and punishment for those who employ it (knowingly or mistakenly) will have merit only so long as it disparages Republicans.