Second Guessing Napolitano

The Weekly Standard
by Michael Goldfarb
September 2, 2009

Republicans point to a deep contradiction remarks by DHS chief Janet Napolitano this morning:

This morning on the Today Show, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, was asked about the decision of Attorney General Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to re-investigate certain matters involving the interrogation of certain detainees. Secretary Napolitano supported the Attorney General by stating “I’m a former United States Attorney. I’m a former [state] Attorney General, a prosecutor. . . . I would never second-guess a prosecutor.”

Of course that is precisely what Attorney General Holder is doing, second-guessing prosecutors, including Assistant United States Attorneys. When there were cases of potential criminal conduct in detention operations, those matters were referred to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution, and reviewed by career prosecutors at the Department. In that review, career prosecutors determined that there was insufficient evidence to warrant criminal prosecution in certain cases for any number of reasons, such as insufficient evidence of criminal conduct, insufficient evidence of the subject’s involvement, insufficient evidence of criminal intent, and low probability of conviction.

Attorney General Holder’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to review these matters again ignores the previous findings and recommendations of the Department’s career prosecutors. There could be no clearer example of second-guessing prosecutors, an action Secretary Napolitano so disparaged.

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