Attorney General Mukasey Will Not Prosecute Criminal Acts by the CIA

February 7, 2008 12:00 am

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Testifies that Advice of Lawyers Immunizes Officials for any Torture Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: (202) 675-2312, media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – During today’s House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Justice, Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) asked the attorney general point blank if he would begin a criminal investigation now that the director of the CIA has admitted instances of waterboarding. Attorney General Mukasey replied with a resounding “no.” When asked if the committee, which has the appropriate clearance, could have access to the legal opinion on which Mukasey is relying, the attorney general again denied the reasonable request.

The following can be attributed to Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU:

“Attorney General Mukasey is taking a radical approach to law enforcement. He stated that he won’t investigate or prosecute anyone for waterboarding by the CIA because government lawyers had written a memo approving its use. In Mukasey’s view, a lawyer’s memo can be an unquestioned license to commit crimes. Ironically, in a week in which Senator John McCain is close to clinching a presidential nomination, the Attorney General is flouting the McCain Amendment prohibiting torture. The McCain Amendment specifically provides that reliance on an attorney’s advice can be part of a CIA agent’s defense, but does not bar any torture prosecution. Everyone but Mukasey seems to know that you can’t break laws simply because your lawyer gives you bad advice.”

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