Commentary Magazine


Napolitano to the Rescue

A friend noticed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the Today show. Apparently trying to defend her colleague Eric Holder, she had this to say about the decision to name a special prosecutor to reinvestigate CIA operatives accused of misconduct in implementing enhanced interrogation techniques at overseas locations. She said: “I’m a former United States Attorney. I’m a former [state] Attorney General, a prosecutor. . . . I would never second-guess a prosecutor.”

Huh?? Well, the career prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia who already examined the matters raised in the CIA’s 2004 inspector-general report conducted an investigation, drafted formal declination memos setting forth their reasons for not proceeding, and have now been dubbed, in essence, patsies of the Bush administration by Holder would be glad to hear they are not being “second-guessed.”

Maybe Napolitano would also like to offer her insights on the Bill Richardson case, which according to AP reports was dismissed at the behest of “Washington.” Does the New Mexico U.S. attorney, who publicly intimated there is much more to say, get Napolitano’s backing as well?

Then there is the Black Panther case. Career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division obtained default judgment that higher-ups in the Justice Department instructed them to dismiss. Would Napolitano put in a good word for them as well?

I’m sure she’ll have a word with Holder about defending the integrity of Justice Department lawyers and not letting politics get in the way of the impartial administration of justice. Won’t she?