Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Calling Scotland Yard

Okay, so the whole world seems to be on the same page when it comes to investigating the assassination, last week, of former Pakistani prime minister Benadir Bhutto, but will there be the same demand for an independent inquiry into who gave the command to destroy hundreds of hours of videotapes, back in 2005, which may prove that we do, in fact, torture people?

Attorney General Michael Mukasay today agreed that there needs to be an investigation, but is putting it in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, that's right, Mukasay wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the Central Intelligence Agency.

It's reassuring that the attorney general has come a long way, baby, and far enough to acknowledge that there is "a basis for initiating a criminal investigation" into what laws were broken in giving the command to destroy tapes. (Reuters) It is equally comforting that the CIA has agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation, but one wonders just how cooperative the attorney general will be with respect to prosecuting those responsible once the chips fall where they may.

Mukasay has fingered the FBI to turn the investigation over to yet another federal prosecutor, John Durham. One can only hope he will have better luck than his predecessor, Patrick Fitzgerald, had in getting past the fall guys Scooter Libby, and Karl Rove, to reveal exactly whose handiwork was behind both the outing of a covert CIA operative, and is also behind the destruction of incriminating videotapes.

On January 16, Congress is scheduled to meet with designated fall guy, retired head of the CIA's "clandestine service," Jose Rodriguez, Jr. Mr. Rodriguez was subpoenaed to testify and, after some lawyering, agreed to do so under the condition that he be immune from prosecution. There is little doubt that when he is through talking, feathers will be flying in the Oval Office.

But, the question is, what will the attorney general do when the FBI points to the CIA, and congressional investigations point to the executive branch? Or, better still, what will Mukasey do if both the FBI and Congress point to the executive branch? If nothing else, the firing of nine U.S. attorneys shows what happens to those who refuse to play ball with this administration.

Haven't we been through enough congressional investigations, over the past few years, to know that, in the end, we'll get more stonewalling, artful dodging, and retreat from responsibility. The odds of getting an impartial investigation into who orchestrated the disappeared interrogation tapes are about as good as getting the Pakistani government to come clean about who killed Mrs. Bhutto.

In light of how closely Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair worked together to frame our current foreign policy, it seems poetic justice to look to Scotland Yard, not the FBI, to find out who is behind this egregious obstruction of justice.