Beliefnet
City of Brass

This is expected, but pathetic nevertheless:

Seven former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency asked President Obama on Friday to shut down the new Justice Department inquiry into past abuses during interrogations of terrorism suspects, arguing that it “will seriously damage” the nation’s ability to protect itself.

In a letter to Mr. Obama, the former C.I.A. chiefs said the cases under study had already been examined by career prosecutors who found that no criminal charges were warranted. To reopen cases based on a change in which political party controls the government, they wrote, will make it harder for intelligence officers to take risks without worrying that some future attorney general might investigate them.

“Those men and women who undertake difficult intelligence assignments in the aftermath of an attack such as September 11 must believe there is permanence in the legal rules that govern their actions,” the men said in their letter.

They argued that the new inquiry would result in the disclosure of information about past operations that “can only help Al Qaeda” elude capture, and would convince foreign intelligence agencies that they could not trust the United States to protect secrets.

In effect, they are asking Obama to intervene and squash the DOJ’s investigation, to essentially act like a third-world dictator rather than let the Attorney Genereal do his job as an independent investigator. How much harm does it do to our national security to have a puppet for an AG? One need only look at the Bush Administration to see the answer; had the AG been independent under the Bush years, then we might not have had any reason to investigate the CIA now.

As I mentioned before, AG Eric Holder was under political pressure not to open any investigation at all. An investigation is not a trial, it’s a fact-finding mission, so what the CIA is afraid of here is essentially the truth being known. Even laymen like Andrew Sullivan can articulate a powerful and compelling case for abuse and illegal actions by the CIA under the previous Administration; a formal investigation will lay all doubts to rest. If the CIA had nothing to hide, they’d welcome this.

Here is the full text of the letter (PDF) to President Obama. I find it interesting that at least one former director of the CIA is conspicuously absent from this list.

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