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Justice Dept. Closes Probe of CIA Prison Deaths

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Posted on Aug 31, 2012
"Democracy Now!"

Glenn Greenwald.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered a “complete whitewash” of accountability in the torture and killing of prisoners in CIA custody at the end of a three-year investigation on Thursday, announcing it will not prosecute anyone involved in those cases, says Glenn Greenwald, columnist for The Guardian.

“The department had already dropped most of the cases stemming from accusations that the CIA and other agencies committed abuses against detainees held by the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “But Attorney General Eric Holder last year ordered a criminal investigation into two detainee deaths, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, saying new evidence was available.”

But that evidence, however suggestive, was not conclusive, Holder reasoned. “The admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

Holder’s decision to continue investigations into the CIA’s treatment of prisoners drew harsh criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the inquiries threatened to compromise intelligence operations. Two of his predecessors under President George W. Bush reviewed the same cases and refused to prosecute. Those decisions, as well as the rebuke from Republicans, fit nicely with the pervasive notion inside and outside of politics that suspected enemies of the United States do not deserve the legal protections guaranteed by national and international law.

Holder defended his investigation with a mouthful of newspeak that amounted to an assurance that the aggressive questioning of detainees would be allowed to continue: “Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”


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