Tags: Mukasey | Rizzo | Holder | CIA

Mukasey: Holder Didn't Read Case Memos Before Reopening Probes

By Lisa Barron   |   Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 10:25 AM

Former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey has nothing but praise for John Rizzo's new memoir of his 34 years as a lawyer for the CIA, maintaining that it is a book for "anyone who cares about the security of this country and about how the political classes treat those charged with protecting it."

In a review of "Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA" published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Mukasey wrote, "This isn't the first book to note that the U.S. has deep ambivalence about spies and their work," explaining, "The popular branches urge intelligence operatives to push to the limits of the law but then fail to protect them from recriminations when things go wrong."

But, Mukasey notes, Rizzo saw this firsthand during his years of service between 1976 and 2009, from the Iran-Contra scandal to the post-9/11 war on terror, and described several political appointees as worse than others.

"Consider the current attorney general, Eric Holder, who in 2009 reopened investigations of CIA operators that had been closed by career prosecutors without prosecution years earlier," Mukasey said, referring to Holder's renewed probe into the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

"He did so without even reading the memos describing why the investigations had been closed — only to close them himself without prosecution in 2012 after having spent millions of dollars and caused unnecessary anguish to the targets of these investigations."

Mukasey continued, "As Mr. Rizzo reports, even Mr. Holder's statement closing the investigation again included a graceless slap at the agency," quoting Rizzo as saying, "It said the decision not to prosecute 'was not intended to and does not resolve broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.'"

Eric Holder, Mukasey concluded, is "portrayed as unworthy of the agency he is supposed to oversee. It is a judgment hard to argue with."

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