Justice needs to appoint special prosecutor to investigate secret CIA dealings and more

Common Cause calls on US Attorney Eric Holder to immediately appoint a special prosecutor to investigate alleged Bush Administration abuses of power that continue to come to light even months after President Bush has left office.

Over the weekend, news surfaced that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to withhold information from Congress about a secret counterterrorism program. That came in the wake of a new Inspector General report Friday that said the Bush Administration ran an “unprecedented” surveillance system that went far beyond warrantless wiretapping.

“Each week it seems new questions are raised about whether the Bush Administration respected the boundaries and requirements of our constitution,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “These are serious allegations that demand thorough, independent investigation and should not be handled on a piecemeal basis. Continued secrecy and indifference to prior misconduct will only result in lasting damage to the fabric of our democracy.”

Edgar said a special prosecutor should have a wide mandate to investigate where the evidence leads, and should include questions around torture, the politicization of the Bush Justice Department, abuse of executive privilege and signing statements.

While Attorney General Holder has indicated that he’s willing to appoint a prosecutor to investigate a narrow set of issues related to torture, “that is simply not good enough,” Edgar said. “America must know what was going on during this critical period of history, to be confident that any abuses have indeed been stopped and will not reoccur.”