Inhumane Treatment: Holder’s CIA Investigation

Given the path that led to Osama bin Laden’s hideout, attention is beginning to refocus on Eric Holder’s seemingly endless criminal investigation of CIA interrogators. We now know that the successful search for the World’s most wanted terrorist began years ago with information offered up during several “harsh” interrogations. No kumbaya coffee klatch those, they raised the considerable ire of the ACLU and other Obama supporters. As a result, during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama, in a bow to his base, pledged to end what he called torture of terrorist suspects.

True to that pledge, the new U.S. Attorney General launched his “rule of law” investigation in August 2009, barely seven months into Obama’s presidency. Almost two years later, the investigation is still in progress. We don’t know what that progress is or exactly what conduct is under investigation or how long it will continue. But, we do know some things.

For instance, those under investigation are government employees and contractors who were, unquestionably, following Bush administration policies o.k.’d by the Bush Justice Department. We also know that an investigation of the same individuals for the same conduct was concluded in 2007. A career prosecutor, not a political appointee, cleared them of wrongdoing.

We know, too, that no new evidence was discovered by Obama’s White House or Holder’s DOJ. So, the motive for the second investigation boils down, not to facts, but to who’s in charge. The new guy simply disagrees with the earlier investigative findings because he believes, contrary to U.S. law, that “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment is torture.

What’s wrong with that? For starters, put yourself in the place of the CIA guys and others under investigation. They acted in good faith. And yet their own Justice Department is now 22 months into its second investigation, with no end in sight. How about that for cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment?

Then there’s the problem of later administrations prosecuting people for legally sanctioned activity. It raises the odious specter of an unconstitutional ex post facto prosecution, applying a new standard retroactively to criminalize conduct that was legal when undertaken.

It also has a chilling effect on our intelligence operators who can now be certain that subsequent administrations may level criminal charges against them. The result will be an anemic intelligence effort in defense of our country. Everyone will be too concerned about being prosecuted tomorrow for doing their jobs today. The most effective intelligence force on the planet, outside of Israel, of course, will be reduced to political correctness. Raise your hand if you think that’s a good idea.

Last Thursday, a 911 family member asked President Obama to support her request to end Holder’s investigation. She simply wanted the President to offer his opinion to Holder that the investigation should be shelved permanently. Her request sprang from the belief that the investigated should be honored, rather than hounded, for their part in tracking down bin Laden, among others. The President refused her entreaty.

Even so, what are the chances that Holder’s investigation will lead to charges being filed? Pretty much zero. If the matter went to trial, the defense would have a field day because it knows what happened. The government would be compelled to release documents describing the interrogation techniques and naming those interrogated. The defense could assert that these techniques were not only legal at the time but also led to bin Laden’s dead end. That last part is an association Obama would rather skip.

And then there’s bin Laden’s problematic end. Is it possible that the manner of his death offends Holder’s sense of inhumane treatment? After all, the old terrorist was unarmed when a strapping young Navy SEAL splattered his brains on the wall. And the jungle drums of the left are beating in an angry rhythm of denial of due process.

You can bet we’ll never know Holder’s feelings about bin Laden’s execution, at least until his memoirs are published years hence.  Obama is enjoying his bump in popularity too much to permit that ugly little distraction. Rule of law, indeed.

See you on the left-side.