Will There Be Prosecutions?

Today we post the fifth and final installment of Chapter 3, “Black Sites, Lies, and Videotapes.”

It is nearly two years since Attorney General Michael Mukasey made the announcement that, “Following a preliminary investigation into the destruction by CIA personnel of videotapes of detainee interrogations, the [Justice] Department's National Security Division has recommended, and I have concluded, that there is a basis for initiating a criminal investigation of this matter.” It has been months since John Durham, the US attorney assigned to the case, called several CIA officials before a grand jury.

Of course there are the tapes, and there is the conduct that the tapes would have provided a glimpse of – conduct the tapes' destruction was meant to conceal permanently from view. As the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer noted in a blog post yesterday on Daily Kos, the next few weeks will see a new series of tests of whether there will be a full public accounting of detainee mistreatment and abuse, and whether any of those who participated in, ordered, or aided and abetted the torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees will be brought to justice.

In writing Chapter 3, I was haunted by Judge Hellerstein's comment, quoted near the end of the chapter, about the difference between the very detailed descriptions of the CIA's interrogations like this one that have been made public and their application in practice. He reached this conclusion after reading just a few of the hundreds of classified cables that describe the interrogation sessions the videotapes had recorded. So much, clearly, remains to be seen.

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