Alberto Gonzales Backpedals on Torture Probe
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SOMEONE GOT TO ALBERTO.... It was a pleasant surprise earlier this week when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signaled his support for the Justice Department' investigation of alleged CIA interrogation abuses.
"We worked very hard to establish ground rules and parameters about how to deal with terrorists," Gonzales said. "And if people go beyond that, I think it is legitimate to question and examine that conduct to ensure people are held accountable for their actions, even if it's action in prosecuting the war on terror."
Apparently, when Gonzales said "legitimate," he didn't mean " legitimate."
Former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said Thursday that his previous assertion that it was "legitimate to question and examine" charges of CIA abuses of suspected terrorists did not mean he endorsed such an investigation.
"Contrary to press reporting and based on the information that's available to me," Mr. Gonzales said during an interview Thursday with The Washington Times, "I don't support the investigation by the department because this is a matter that has already been reviewed thoroughly and because I believe that another investigation is going to harm our intelligence gathering capabilities and that's a concern that's shared by career intelligence officials and so for those reasons I respectfully disagree with the decision."
On Monday, Mr. Gonzales told The Washington Times radio program that he understood Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr.'s inquiry would look at "the 1 percent of actors who went beyond the legal limits prescribed by the lawyers at the Department of Justice."
Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal . His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."