Back to News & Commentary

Whose Lawyer? The People's Lawyer.

Share This Page
September 18, 2009

Today a group of former CIA directors sent a letter to President Obama asking him to kill Attorney General Eric Holder’s investigation into the torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody. Clearly these CIA directors have forgotten one key thing: this isn’t the president’s decision to make.

Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Program, said in a statement today:

The suggestion that President Obama should order Attorney General Holder to abort the investigation betrays a misunderstanding of the role of the attorney general as well as the relationship between the attorney general and the president. Where there is evidence of criminal conduct, the attorney general has not just the authority but the duty to investigate. The attorney general is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer, and it would be profoundly inappropriate for President Obama to interfere with his work.

Some of the former CIA directors who signed onto this letter (PDF) were ones who were heading the agency when the torture and abuse was occurring. If this isn’t wildly inappropriate for them to be meddling, it’s hard to know what is.