Holder's Probe Has Its Critics
Isikoff, Michael, Hosenball, Mark, Newsweek
Byline: Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
NEWSWEEK's disclosure that attorney General Eric Holder Jr. may appoint a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuse has revived tensions in the Obama administration about how to deal with Bush-era controversies. CIA Director Leon Panetta and other agency officials were blindsided, and say Holder is spinning his wheels: they argue that the CIA inspector general's report, which the A.G. told associates "shocked" him, was delivered to the Justice Department more than five years ago. "This has all been reviewed and dealt with before," says Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman.
After the IG report reached Justice, a task force was set up in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, Va., that reviewed about 20 criminal referrals of detainee abuse sent over by the CIA and military criminal investigators. Officials familiar with the referrals have said they were horrific: one involves allegations that a naked prisoner in CIA custody in Afghanistan froze to death after being left in a prison known as the "salt pit."
But task-force prosecutors say they ran into a host of problems, including a lack of witnesses and forensic evidence, and declined to prosecute in all but one case. …