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Tag: Michael Mukasey

Dem Lawmaker Accuses Rep. Issa of “Election Year Witch Hunt” in Congressional Probe

Rep. Elijah Cummings/govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,  on Thursday accused Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican committee chair, of an “election year witch hunt” in going after the Attorney General and the Justice Department during a Congressional probe into the flawed Operation Fast and Furious.

Referring to a minority staff committee report released this week — which indicated Holder and other top Justice officials  never gave the green light for Fast and Furious — Cummings accused Issa of “escalating unsubstantiated allegations” during his Congressional probe.

Cummings accusations came during a hearing on Fast and Furious, an ATF program out of Phoenix that encouraged straw purchasers to buy guns from dealers, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of many weapons, some of which showed up at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Cummings pointed out that the “gun walking” operations out of Phoenix began five years ago — even before Fast and Furious —  during the Bush years and while Michael Mukasey was attorney general.

Cummings went on to say to Issa: “Mr. chairman, although you deserve credit for exposing these operations over the last five years, we part ways in to what we should  do next. You now appear intent on escalating controversy and promoting unsubstantiated  allegations in a campaign that looks more like an election year witch hunt  than an even handed investigation. This is the sixth time, the sixth time, the attorney general has testified on these issues.”

“In contrast, you never once called the former head of the ATF  to testify at a public hearing even though ATF was the agency responsible for these reckless programs. And although Attorney General Holder has answered questions repeatedly, you refuse to even interview former Attorney General Mukasey.”

Republican committee members took sharp aim at Holder during his appearance before the committee, accusing him of withholding documents to cover up something, and of failing to discipline anyone in the Justice Department for Fast and Furious. Issa has accused the Justice Department of being less than forthright in cooperating with his probe into the gun walking matter.

Democrats defended Holder.

Buerkle to Atty Gen. Holder: You Must be Held Accountable for Fast and Furious and Agent Terry’s Murder

 

Sen. McCain Opposes Torture; Says Waterboarding Did Not Lead to bin Laden Courier

John McCain/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Az) wrote Thursday in a Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post that he opposed torture, and said it just isn’t true that waterboarding lead authorities to the trusted courier of the Osama bin Laden.

“Much of this debate is a definitional one: whether any or all of these methods constitute torture. I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them.

As for the courier, he stated:

“Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that ‘the intelligence that led to bin Laden . . . began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.’” That is false.”

“I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.”

He also stated that he was against anyone being prosecuted for using any of the methods he opposes.

To read full column click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey Works to Water Down Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, Daily Kos Reports

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Daily Kos website writes that ex-Attorney Gen. Michael Mukasey “has a new gig in which to ply his talents: making it easier for corporations to bribe foreign governments.”

The site writes that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA) was designed to prevent U.S.-based multinational corporations from bribing foreign governments. The Obama administration seems to be stepping up efforts in this area.

The Daily Kos reports that Mukasey, who is a partner in the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, has filed lobbying papers and is working on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to water down the  Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“The Chamber has become increasingly critical of the FCPA in recent months,” the Daily Kos wrote. “It argues that the law, which allows the U.S. government to seek charges against corporations and individuals for bribes paid to local officials in other countries, is not working well and could be making U.S. companies less competitive.”

“The expansion in prosecutions and investigations of course has brought a great deal of anxiety to companies in the United States,” Mukasey said at the Chamber’s annual legal summit, according to video of the panel, the Daily Kos reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey Asks White House to Release Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Atty. Michael Mukasey, who came to the Justice Department at the tail end of the Bush administration, is asking the White House to commute the sentence of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to time served, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In a letter to President Obama, Mukasey, a former federal judge,  wrote that Pollard, who was found guilty of spying for Israel”has not been alleged by anyone to have had any motive to harm the United States. In these circumstances, a life sentence can only be considered utterly disproportionate to the crime.”

“I had occasion myself to consider life sentences, and indeed to impose them. In more than 18 years on the bench, I imposed such sentences on four defendants,” Mukasey wrote.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

Pollard’s wife Esther Pollard  told Israel Radio that Pollard has been in poor health as of late.

Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst, was  handed a life sentence in 1987 for spying.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Won’t File Charges in Burning of CIA Videotapes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it won’t file criminal charges over the destruction by CIA workers of 92 videotapes showing harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects.

“In January 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed Assistant United States Attorney John Durham to investigate the destruction by CIA personnel of videotapes of detainee interrogations,” Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“Since that time, a team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Mr. Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter. As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes.”

The tapes were burned in November 2005 at the direction of a CIA official.

The Washington Post reported that authorities had not ruled out the possibility of filing criminal charges against officials who may have misled investigators during the probe.

Column: Ex-Atty Gen. Mukasey Continues to Offer Criticism About Christmas Day Bomber

Michael Mukasey is a former N.Y. federal judge who served as the U.S. Attorney General from November 2007 to January 2009.

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Michael B. Mukasey
The Washington Post

It seems to me unlikely that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will be known to future generations of lawyers for generating any groundbreaking legal principle or issue. But when it comes to illuminating our public discourse about the “global war on terror,” he is right up there with Clarence Earl Gideon, Ernesto Miranda or even Jose Padilla. His case presents in one tidy package virtually all the issues that arise from the role intelligence plays in this struggle and compels us to examine what the law requires and what it doesn’t.

When Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb concealed in his undershorts, he committed a crime; no doubt about that. He could not have acted alone; no doubt about that either. The bomb was not the sort of infernal device readily produced by someone of his background, and he quickly confirmed that he had been trained and sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

What to do and who should do it? It was entirely reasonable for the FBI to be contacted and for that agency to take him into custody. But contrary to what some in government have suggested, that Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by the FBI did not mean, legally or as a matter of policy, that he had to be treated as a criminal defendant at any point.

To read more click here.

Column: Former Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey Questions Wisdom of Nixing Military Trials for Suspected Terrorists

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Michael B. Mukasey
The Washington Post

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who by his own account came to this country most recently in 2001 to help organize a second wave of attacks after the Sept. 11 atrocities, received a jail sentence on Oct. 29 that could free him within six years.

This again prompts the question of whether it is wise for the administration to cancel the military trials of those held at Guantanamo Bay and charged with planning the Sept. 11 attacks and, instead, to bring them to the United States to be charged anew and tried in civilian courts.

Marri acted on the direct order of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of Sept. 11 among other accomplishments, to enter the United States not later than Sept. 10, 2001.

To Read More

Atty. Gen. Mukasey Erases Ruling of Bush Regime that Denied Immigrants Effective Legal Counsel

It’s not unusual for current administrations to undo some of the last minute rulings of the previous regime. Here’s one that will certainly be applauded by civil rights and immigration rights organizations.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times
WASHINGTON –Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. today vacated a ruling issued in the waning days of the Bush administration that denied immigrants the right to effective legal counsel in deportation proceedings.

In January, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s scrapped a 20-year-old precedent established in Matter of Lozada, a Board of Immigration Appeals decision which held that immigrants could reopen their hearings based on lawyer error. Mukasey held that immigrants in deportation proceedings have no constitutional right to effective assistance.
For Full Story

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