Daily Revolt

December 09, 2007

Sen. Biden Wants Special Counsel to Probe CIA Tape Destruction

The drumbeat gets louder. The White House better be scared this time:

A Senate Democratic leader said Sunday the attorney general should appoint a special counsel to investigate the CIA's destruction of videotaped interrogations of two suspected terrorists.

Sen. Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate and chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, cited Michael Mukasey's refusal during confirmation hearings in October to describe waterboarding as torture.

Mukasey's Justice Department and the CIA's internal watchdog announced Saturday they would conduct a joint inquiry into the matter. That review will determine whether a full investigation is warranted.

"He's the same guy who couldn't decide whether or not waterboarding was torture and he's going to be doing this investigation," said Biden, who noted that he voted against making Mukasey the country's top law enforcer.

"I just think it's clearer and crisper and everyone will know what the truth ... if he appoints a special counsel, steps back from it," said Biden, D-Del.

"I think the easiest, straightest thing to do is to take it out of the political realm, appoint a special prosecutor and let them decide, and call — call it where it is. Is there a criminal violation? If there is, proceed. If not, don't," the senator said.

Surprisingly, Senator Rockefeller is opposed to a special counsel:

The Democratic chairmen of the Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees are at odds over whether a special counsel should investigate the circumstances that led to the deletion of videotapes showing the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

While Sen. Joe Biden (Del.), chairman of the Foreign Relations panel, says it is necessary to put in place a special counsel to investigate, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), who chairs the Intelligence Committee, said there is no need for such a move and that a congressional probe would be sufficient at this stage.

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