Is John Durham the man for the job?
His appointment is central to the question of whether or not there can be a decent Justice Dept investigation into the destruction of the Torture Tapes. The fact that Bush tried to talk Mukasey out of the investigation shows there won’t be any cooperation by the White House into the destruction of the tapes. Several pundits, both legal and otherwise, weigh in on this subject below.
Dahlia Lithwick for Slate gives us her pov:
And Durham appears to be more than merely apolitical. He appears to be zealous in his ability to smoke out wrongdoing, even when it’s the alleged good guys who have been doing the wrong. Durham’s career-making prosecution was, after all, an appointment by Janet Reno to go after criminal conduct by the FBI and other government agents who had apparently been in bed with mobsters in Boston for decades. In this fascinating 2001 profile in the Hartford Courant, Durham is described as nonpartisan, incorruptible, and totally devoted to the integrity of the justice system. He was able to go after corrupt federal agents precisely because his belief in the system transcended his devotion to the government.
To be sure, Durham faces challenges in his CIA investigations that will make the Boston prosecution look like a day at the ballpark. Both the CIA and the White House will throw as much sand in his eyes as they possibly can, and if Harriet Miers can be prevented from testifying about fired U.S. attorneys, you can bet the White House won’t make it easy for Durham to investigate allegations of lies and obstruction. The fact that Durham ultimately answers to Mukasey is hardly comforting, either.