Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on Tuesday defended the decision of his current successor, Eric H. Holder Jr., to investigate alleged prisoner abuse by CIA interrogators over President Obama's desire to look forward.That was published on Sept. 1. Today:
"As chief prosecutor of the United States, he should make the decision on his own, based on the facts, then inform the White House," said Mr. Gonzales, who was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in 2005 and resigned in 2007.
Mr. Gonzales also said Bush administration lawyers clearly defined what interrogation techniques were legal and the few who went beyond the rules should be investigated, despite the so-called chilling effect it might have on future intelligence-gathering.
"We worked very hard to establish ground rules and parameters about how to deal with terrorists," he 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."
On Thursday, in a follow-up interview with The Times, Gonzales said despite reports that he supports Holder’s probe, “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.”Oh, for a copy of Gonzales's phone log between those two dates.
Regarding his earlier comments, Gonzales said he was not endorsing the investigations, simply Holder’s right to conduct the probe. He said, “It’s an endorsement of his right to exercise his discretion,” adding, “I’m just saying I would have exercised my discretion in a different manner, given the information I have.”
... Okay, so it can be improved upon: Monday, not Tuesday.