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Eric Holder Announces Full DOJ Investigation Into Deaths Of Two Individuals In CIA Custody

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"Mr. Durham has advised me of the results of his investigation, and I have accepted his recommendation to conduct a full criminal investigation regarding the death in custody of two individuals," Holder said.

"Those investigations are ongoing," he said. "The Department has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted."

Republicans have criticized Holder for opening a preliminary inquiry into allegations of torture in the aftermath of Sept. 11. But on Thursday, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), praised Holder's decision.

"The Attorney General's decision is a significant step forward," Rogers said. "I am pleased that the Department of Justice has finally substantially lifted an undeserved cloud of doubt and suspicion from all of our intelligence professionals."

Holder made clear when he first announced the decision to open a preliminary investigation and in his latest statement that the Justice Department "would not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees."

He said the review "examined primarily whether any unauthorized interrogation techniques were used by CIA interrogators, and if so, whether such techniques could constitute violations of the torture statute or any other applicable statute."

The Department confirmed back in November that would not be filing any criminal charges related to the destruction of tapes that allegedly showed CIA personnel torturing detainees.

Full statement below.

WASHINGTON - The Attorney General made the following statement today:

"On January 2, 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed Assistant United States Attorney John Durham of the District of Connecticut to conduct a criminal investigation into the destruction of interrogation videotapes by the Central Intelligence Agency. On August 24, 2009, based on information the Department received pertaining to alleged CIA mistreatment of detainees, I announced that I had expanded Mr. Durham's mandate to conduct a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. I made clear at that time that the Department would not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees. Accordingly, Mr. Durham's review examined primarily whether any unauthorized interrogation techniques were used by CIA interrogators, and if so, whether such techniques could constitute violations of the torture statute or any other applicable statute.

"In carrying out his mandate, Mr. Durham examined any possible CIA involvement with the interrogation of 101 detainees who were in United States custody subsequent to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a number of whom were determined by Mr. Durham to have never been in CIA custody. He identified the matters to include within his review by examining various sources including the Office of Professional Responsibility's report regarding the Office of Legal Counsel memoranda related to enhanced interrogation techniques, the 2004 CIA Inspector General's report on enhanced interrogations, additional matters investigated by the CIA Office of Inspector General, the February 2007 International Committee of the Red Cross Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody, and public source information.

"Mr. Durham and his team reviewed a tremendous volume of information pertaining to the detainees. That review included both information and matters that had never previously been examined by the Department. Mr. Durham has advised me of the results of his investigation, and I have accepted his recommendation to conduct a full criminal investigation regarding the death in custody of two individuals. Those investigations are ongoing. The Department has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted.

"As I noted at the time I announced the expansion of Mr. Durham's authority, the men and women in our intelligence community perform an incredibly important service to our nation, and they often do so under difficult and dangerous circumstances. They deserve our respect and gratitude for the work they do. However, I concluded based on information available to me then, and continue to believe now, that the Department needed to thoroughly examine the detainee treatment issue. I am confident that Mr. Durham's thorough review has satisfied that need."

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