Conyers demands Justice Dept. appoint a special counsel in controversial CIA tapes case
Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is demanding a special counsel with a "full investigative mandate" in the CIA destroyed tapes case, according to a press release.
Responding to Attorney General Michael Mukasey's announcement that an assistant U.S. Attorney would investigate the controversial case on behalf of the Justice Department, as RAW STORY reported earlier, Conyers says, "While I certainly agree that these matters warrant an immediate criminal investigation, it is disappointing that the Attorney General has stepped outside the Justice Department's own regulations and declined to appoint a more independent special counsel in this matter.
"Because of this action, the Congress and the American people will be denied – as they were in the Valerie Plame matter – any final report on the investigation," Conyers continues.
The veteran Michigan congressmember also rues the "limited scope" of the investigation, saying that the federal government "needs to scrutinize what other evidence may have been destroyed beyond the two tapes, as well as the underlying allegations of misconduct" during interrogations of detainees.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also issued a statement regarding Mukasey's announcement, describing it as "a reflection of the seriousness of these charges." Pelosi expresses concerns similar to those of Conyers, saying that the White House "now has the burden of proving the investigation is truly independent and has appropriate reporting provisions and sufficient scope to uncover the truth."
"The Justice Department's record over the past seven years of sweeping the administration's misconduct under the rug has left the American public with little confidence in the Administration's ability to investigate itself," adds Conyers. "Nothing less than a special counsel with a full investigative mandate will meet the tests of independence, transparency and completeness."
Conyers insists that the appointment of a special counsel would "allow our nation to begin to restore our credibility and moral standing on these issues."