ACLU Outlines Reasons Why Independent Prosecutor Is Necessary

December 13, 2007 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Possible Crimes Go Far Beyond CIA Interrogation Tape Destruction


Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union today sent a detailed 12-page letter to all members of Congress urging them to demand that Attorney General Mukasey appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any violations of federal criminal laws related to the interrogation of detainees, including any obstruction of justice.

The letter outlines ten reasons why the Senate should ask for an independent prosecutor. They are:

    1. There is credible evidence of numerous federal crimes

    2. Attempts to shield government officials from criminal prosecution were pursued by the White House, including by the president and vice president

    3. Attorney General Mukasey still refuses to say whether waterboarding and other forms of torture are illegal

    4. The current head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department was in meetings on interrogations

    5. The past head of the Criminal Division reportedly advised on interrogation practices, possibly including the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah

    6. The Justice Department wrote the legal opinions authorizing torture

    7. The Justice Department has failed to bring any indictments based on twenty CIA and DOD referrals of possible crimes by civilians

    8. Military prosecutors have not gone up the chain of command

    9. Further delay in criminal investigations could put some crimes outside the statutes of limitation

    10. Congress and the agencies have failed in holding torture perpetrators accountable

    “These tapes were sought by courts, Congress and the 9/11 Commission, and their destruction raises serious concerns of criminal obstruction of justice. But the tapes depicted far more serious criminal activity,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Limiting an independent prosecutor solely to any misconduct in the destruction of the tapes could end up being a further miscarriage of justice.”

    Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel with the ACLU said, “Prosecutors should look beyond these videotapes and investigate the bigger problem of roughly six years of unpunished torture crimes. The range of alleged crimes is breathtaking in its scope, from obstruction of justice to torture to homicide. But because the torture program involved top officials in the White House, CIA, Justice Department, and Defense Department, only an independent prosecutor who can act outside the influence and control of this Administration can be trusted.”

    To see a copy of the ACLU letter go to:

    # # #

    Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

    Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release