Thursday, January 03, 2008

DOJ Probe Of CIA Tapes To Be Headed By John Durham

So it seems everyone is singing the praises of John Durham, the federal prosecutor chosen by new Attorney General Michael Mukasey to head up the CIA torture tape investigation. He is sited as being tough on crime and his record of pursuing criminals bears this out. He successfully prosecuted FBI agents in Boston and many of New England's Mafia bosses.

His appointment marks a hopeful turn in the CIA torture tape case. My only problem is the possibility of partisanship interfering with any meaningful investigation. Though colleagues say the registered Republican is non-partisan, he was recommended for this post by former boss, Kevin J. O'Connor. O’Connor was the U.S. attorney in Connecticut until he became an assistant to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales shortly before Gonzales resigned last year. It is that connection with Alberto Gonzales that taints his appointment in my eyes.

Everyone knows Gonzales like all Bush appointees valued loyalty over everything else. Should Durham turn out to be a Bush loyalist, he will color his investigation to prevent any damage to the administration. Additionally, Durham has no experience with national security issues and cases involving executive authority. It remains to be seen how doggedly he will pursue leads that might point to the White House.

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