The new administration faces some tough decisions whether to go after people in the Bush administration who may have violated the law while essentially carrying out policy. Just how much more this issue will impact the confirmation of Atty. Gen. designate Eric H. Holder Jr. is unclear.
By Carrie Johnson and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Even as Senate Republicans seek assurances that new leaders at the Justice Department will not prosecute former government officials over national security abuses, one of the highest-profile investigations of the Bush era is grinding to a close.
A little more than a year ago, then-Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey handpicked a prosecutor to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes depicting harsh interrogation tactics used against two al-Qaeda suspects. The disclosure that the tapes, believed to portray the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, were destroyed in 2005 touched off an outcry from defense lawyers and civil liberties advocates who said the government should have produced the materials in lawsuits pending at the time.
Since then, the federal inquiry has proceeded mostly in the shadows. But prosecutor John H. Durham recently told a federal judge that he would wrap up interviews by the end of February — a timetable complicated by the highly sensitive subject, the reluctance of current and former agency employees to cooperate and Durham’s painstaking approach, according to court documents and three lawyers following the case.