ACLU Letter to Attorney General Mukasey Urging the Appointment of Outside Independent Prosecutor

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, a non-partisan organization with over half a million members and 53 affiliates throughout the nation, we are writing in regard to your decision to launch a criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes to be headed by Deputy U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut. While we acknowledge the significance of your decision to both launch the investigation and accept the recusal of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, we urge you to go further. To truly do justice and help restore America’s confidence in the impartiality of the Department of Justice, we urge you to appoint an outside independent prosecutor and to broaden the scope of the inquiry beyond the narrow issue of evidence destruction. It is time for a prosecutor to examine the complete picture of illegal activities by the government in its intelligence and homeland security operations since 9/11, which includes the use of illegal interrogation techniques such as “waterboarding” and others. Given its role in the development of illegal policies relating to torture and abuse, the Department of Justice is utterly conflicted and any decision it renders on prosecutions will necessarily be suspect. Moreover, any decision relating to the destruction of videotapes will necessarily beg the question of the underlying illegal activities.

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