Thursday, March 29, 2007

Is this being tape recorded?

Today, the Boston Globe reports on Senator Ted Kennedy’s accusations regarding the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys:
At least two of the eight US attorneys fired by the administration refused to investigate spurious claims of voter fraud that were initiated by Republicans, Kennedy said. Two of the new US attorneys, meanwhile, had documented records of pursuing GOP goals, one as a Justice Department official and the other as a top aide to White House political adviser Karl Rove, he said.
Then there was U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton of Arizona. Just before he was fired, he opened an investigation of bribery and vote-selling involving Congressman Richard Renzi. Of course, this couldn’t have anything to do with his firing. We are told he was sacked because of a policy difference with the administration. But what was that policy difference?

William Moschella, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, told the House Judiciary Committee on March 6th that the Department of Justice has a policy against G-men tape recording the confessions of their suspects. Charlton disagreed.

One must wonder why this policy exists when it is becoming widely understood by police departments and others that taping and videotaping interrogations protects the officers from baseless accusations of unfair interrogation techniques, and protects suspects from being misquoted. It should not be overlooked that the practice also helps to uncover actual instances of unfair interrogation techniques.

For 22 years, it has been the law here in Alaska that the recording of a suspect’s interrogations in a place of detention is a reasonable and necessary safeguard, essential to adequate protection of accused’s right to counsel, right against self-incrimination and ultimately his or her right to a fair trial. State v. Stephan, 711 P.2d 1156 (Alaska 1985).

I suppose this helps explain why the White House is so adamant about there being no transcripts or recordings of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers’ testimony.

"... and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!"

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