I suppose that it’s a good thing that Michael Mukasey has ordered a criminal probe into the CIA destruction (with White House approval) of the torture videotapes. And I suppose that it’s also a good thing he has appointed someone who seems to be a career, professional, and very hard-headed prosecutor to the job.
But I can’t say that I think it will yield anything.
Why? Well, a really professional investigation will take a long time. More precisely, I can’t expect any indictments until after January 2009. And by then, both David Addington and Alberto Gonzales will be the recipients of blanket pardons from the Dear Leader. I’m also willing to take odds that Cheney will receive one, too.
This does mean that they cannot plead the 5th if they testify, and offers them interesting disincentives to lie (because that would open them up to a perjury charge not covered by the pardon). But my view at this point is that they will not suffer anything for the consequences.
At this stage, the action should lie with the DC Bar Association, which should disbar Addington for life depending upon the findings. At the very least, it should start its own investigation.