Only two days after the House intelligence committee inaugurated its inquiry into the CIA's torture tapes by hosting CIA Director Mike Hayden on Wednesday, the Justice Department instructed key CIA officials not to cooperate. The panel's leaders, Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) and Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), vowed not to back off in a just-released joint statement:
"Just two days ago, CIA Director Michael Hayden appeared before our Committee to address the CIA's destruction of videotapes. In that hearing, he committed to providing materials relevant to our investigation. Earlier today, our staff was notified that the Department of Justice has advised CIA not cooperate with our investigation.
"We are stunned that the Justice Department would move to block our investigation. Parallel investigations occur all of the time, and there is no basis upon which the Attorney General can stand in the way of our work.
"We strongly urge General Hayden to comply with our Committee's bipartisan request to produce documents and to make available John Rizzo and Jose Rodriguez for testimony next week. We will use all the tools available to Congress, including subpoenas, to obtain this information and this testimony.
"It's clear that there's more to this story than we have been told, and it is unfortunate that we are being prevented from learning the facts. The Executive Branch can't be trusted to oversee itself. Congress must conduct its own investigation."
A big part of the story here is how angry the news of the tape destruction has made Hoekstra. Usually the administration can count Hoekstra as an ally. But in a recent interview
with TPMm homie Eli Lake of the New York Sun
, Hoekstra came this close
to straight-up calling Hayden a liar. Michael Mukasey, fresh from pissing off the Senate Judiciary Committee
, just threw gasoline on Hoekstra's fire. This might just become a genuinely bipartisan outrage.
DOJ's national security spokesman, Dean Boyd, tells us he'll have a reaction to Reyes and Hoekstra imminently.