Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Representative John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representative Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, asked AG Mukasey for clarification of his comments recently in the NYT that
[t]here is absolutely no evidence that anybody who rendered a legal opinion either with respect to surveillance or with respect to interrogation policy did so for any reason other than to protect the security of the country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful.
More from the letter:
The public record reflects ample warning to Administration officials that its legal approach was overreaching and invalid, such as repeated objections by military lawyers to Department legal opinions on interrogation issues and the stark warning by then-Deputy Attorney General Comey that the Department would be "ashamed" if the world learned of the legal advice it had given on torture issues. . . .
Our greatest concern, however, is that your statement appears to be pre-judging numerous ongoing investigations.
Mukasey's original comments, and Conyers's and Nadler's letter, obviously raise important issues of executive neutrality and independence and separation of powers. I'll post when/if Mukasey responds.