Article by Richard Goolsby, a Georgia attorney and former federal prosecutor.
In my opinion, Mr. Holder’s decision raises serious criminal law and Constitutional issues about the prospect of DOJ attorneys prosecuting CIA agents who were apparently following interrogation guidelines previously approved by other DOJ attorneys.
As a former federal prosecutor, (and currently, as a criminal defense attorney), I believe the Attorney General’s decision to open this new investigation, and any prosecutions that might follow, are also a colossal waste of government resources. Moreover, they are just plain wrong! No one should condone torture, but, in my opinion, unless the CIA agents engaged in a pattern of serious abuses beyond what has been publicized, no jury in this country will ever convict them. As I have indicated before in this blog, the government must prove criminal intent in any criminal case. But if these agents were following approved guidelines, they had no criminal intent. The CIA agents just did their jobs and, in the process, thankfully, saved innocent American lives.
And thankfully, at least CIA Director Leon Panetta is reportedly defending his agents. But this new investigation also raises other serious issues. In spite of Panetta’s support, how will the prospect of political witch hunts and prosecutions affect CIA agent morale? What will be its impact on future interrogations of captured terrorists? What has happened to the “war on terror?” And why have some government bureaucrats already forgotten about 9-11?
And can anybody remember how the terrorists beheaded Daniel Pearl?