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 Ann Coulter Reply

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 January, 2008

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 Ann Coulter - A Hundred Investigations, No Convictions?

A Hundred Investigations, No Convictions?

By Al Owens
The New Year isn’t even a week old, but there are already people inside the White House wondering when it’ll end.

While the national news monster was busily beating the Iowa caucuses to death, on Wednesday there was some far more compelling news coming out of Washington. The brand new U.S. Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, says he’s going to take a hard look at the case of those trash-canned C.I.A. interrogation tapes. He’s launching a criminal investigation.

He can’t be too serious though. The person he’s appointing to do the job is still one of his own. Mukasey decided a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut, John Durham, will be the guy who’ll be trying to find out who ordered the destruction of those 2002 videotaped interrogations of al Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

This could still be fun. Last month, when the disclosure about the destroyed tapes was first revealed, it was also reported that at least four White House attorneys had discussed their disposal.

Two of those attorneys, Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales, had been past winners of the coveted “You’re doing a Heck of a Job Brownie” award from the president – before they clumsily slipped away into the shadows of private life.
Miers and Gonzales could be on grand jury guest lists, if Durham goes that route.
I haven’t anticipated so many cover stories coming out of a White House since John Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman and John Erhlichmann took the fall for Richard Nixon back in 1975.

Meanwhile, the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission is weighing in on the new appointment. Chairman Thomas Kean, a Republican no less, and Democratic Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton are claiming the C.I.A. hampered their work when they were conducting their investigation, by doing away with the tapes.
They’ve co-written a letter that included one word that makes me sentimental for the good old days of Watergate, "Those who knew about those videotapes -- and did not tell us about them -- obstructed our investigation."

That word obstructed, is pretty close to obstruction. Obstruction could mean obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice may mean, well, where’s Judge John Sirica when you need him?

Of course, there are these pesky caucuses and primaries that keep snatching the spotlight away from yet another Bush scandal.

If they’d all just claim victory, we could get on with the juicy stuff. Like impeachment talk, and a president who’d go on national TV to claim he’s not a crook.

The C.I.A. isn’t really saying a lot about the upcoming investigation. It’s simply claiming it’ll do whatever it can to “cooperate” with it.
Oh, C.I.A. mouthpieces have denied the agency obstructed anything. C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, let the media know his organization is not a bunch of uncooperative obstructers. "The fact of the matter is that the C.I.A. went to great lengths to meet the requests of the 9/11 commission and provided the commission with a wealth of information," Little claims.

A wealth, that is, except those curiously vaporized interrogation tapes.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, sensing an opportunity to raise his poll numbers from un-measurable to almost measurable, is claiming that the appointment of Durham doesn’t go far enough. Biden says a more independent investigator would be appropriate under the circumstances.

Of course he makes sense, but since he’s seen as saying anything to become the next president, hardly anybody seems to be taking him seriously. So I will.

With a probe that could lead up the White House chain of command, somebody outside of the Justice Department just may seem a bit more appropriate. Especially since there’s already talk about Durham possessing little, if any, experience in the area of national security.

That could please a lot of people in the Bush administration. At least they’ll have something in common with him.

Yet, the last time a truly independent prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, probed the goings on at the White House, it only led to a conviction and later a commutation of the sentence of “Scooter” Libby. No wonder some Democrats are already voicing their concerns about Durham.

Even if he discovers that Dick Cheney held the match that started the charcoal briquettes that broiled those tapes, Cheney might be in the clear.

You can expect Durham to have a bit of a tug-of-war with Congress too. The House Intelligence Committee started unwinding the C.I.A. tape mess. We could see dueling subpoenas within days.

There could even be sparks flying by January 16th. That’s the day when former C.I.A. official Jose Rodriguez is expected to testify before the committee about his role in the destruction of the tapes.

By the time summer rolls around, there could be investigations all over the place. The F.B.I., Scotland Yard, Cold Case Files – who knows who’ll be trying to make a name for themselves.

What’s lost in all of this is that persistent question about waterboarding – and whether it’s really torture.

Or if having to watch yet another stump speech from a corn field in Iowa, is worse than waterboarding.