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A Worrisome Criminal Probe

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MSNBC is reporting that the Justice Department has undertaken a formal criminal investigation into the deaths of two terrorists, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, while they were in the custody of CIA interrogators:

The attorney general said that he accepted the recommendation of a federal prosecutor, John Durham, who since August, 2009, has conducted an into CIA interrogation practices during the Bush administration. Holder said Durham looked at the treatment of 101 detainees in U.S. custody since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and concluded that only these two deaths required criminal investigation.

Holder did not identify the two death cases. But former and current U.S. officials who requested anonymity said Durham was looking at the deaths of Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi.

Rahman died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002 after being shackled to a cold cement wall in a secret CIA prison in northern Kabul, Afghanistan, known as the Salt Pit. He was suspected of links to al-Qaida.

Al-Jamadi died in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The death has been known to the public for years and a military autopsy declared al-Jamadi's death a homicide.

The rule of law is the rule of law.  I don't like or trust the atmospherics of this.  The people who do these interrogations aren't in it for profit, and we depend on their success for desperately needed intelligence in a dangerous world.  But law and civilization impose limits.  If attorneys in the Justice Department, exercising sensible judgment and acting in good faith, believe a criminal probe is warranted, follow the evidence and let the chips fall where they may.

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