Sunday, August 30, 2009

CIA prosecution--a lawyer's perspective


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?

13 comments:

bluepitbull said...

This is why the democrats, in their current inception, can only be effective against Republicans for very short times.

They can never be successful because they can never be sincere. They have to pander to every weird special interest group in the U.S. and play to the extreme of their base.

chupacabra said...

Holy smokes your post was interesting but, I'll be thinking about bluepitbulls last paragraph for a long time.
Everyone interested in the differences politically in the US should read that simple statement to think about.

Opus #6 said...

Blue pit, I agree. I think that they are pandering to their fringe with this prosecution. Roast em and toast em and make the looney left happy. Too bad they are weakening our national defense, and totally destroying the CIA.

Opus #6 said...

Chup, thanks. You always zero in on the meat of the issue.

Nickie Goomba said...

Don't expect any honorable or exceptional actions from Panetta. He's a useless organizational toady who'll crumble like a coffee cake.

Just a conservative girl said...

Boy, you have been a busy girl today. I like this letter. It is distrubing on many levels. I heard something this morning that the administration has turned over the questioning of terrorists to the FBI. We are right back to the Clinton administration when terrorism is a law enforcement issue. The FBI doesn't have the capability to deal with international threats. I am not a huge fan of Cheney - but he is right. He also has grown on me since 9/11.

btw - thanks for the love. And your right - they do know me. Which is kind of scary, yet oddly comforting that I have been a thorn in thier sides.

I am going to meet Karl Rove in a few weeks. That should be interesting.

Have a good evening.

Opus #6 said...

Nickie, that was LL's assessment. Basically they picked Panetta because he is weak. Lets them run roughshod as they please.

Opus #6 said...

JACG, It was the law enforcement approach that brought us 9/11. They tried to blow up the WTC in 93. Actually blew up a portion of it, as we all recall. Turned it over to law enforcement. Nobody cared. Let the masterminds keep plotting. Bad idea.

LL said...

I disagree with bluepitbull. I think it goes far beyond pandering to the unusual and bizarre in their support base. I believe it is intended to put case officers on notice and to serve as a chilling deterrent to operations, however thoroughly they are vetted in the present and supported by DOJ and other legal safeguards.

In the jargon of the business, spies are called “old whores” because they more or less do anything to meet stated objectives. In other words the end justifies the means within stated legal guidelines.

They are pulling the CIA's fangs and the case officers who are worth a damn and are remaining from the old days are going into the night. The legal guidelines are now MEANINGLESS. Who knows how today's iron-clad guidelines will be interpreted tomorrow?

Not alone, spies succumb to the baneful outcome of all professions. People who feel unsuccessful at work become hectors.

The lucky retire or resign, forego NOVA reenactments of civil wars, set up a shop for spy contracts, hobnob with cash-fat lobbyists, imagine a hotcake novel that will pay the bills, peck away at what will get eviscerated upon agency review then trashed and rejected by literary bottom feeders.

Opus #6 said...

LL, you sound experienced in these matters.

LL said...

I read the odd spy novel.

Opus #6 said...

Whadda coincidence. I love spy novels too.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

AMEN BLUE!