Earlier this month, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility said that they had to close their investigation into whether department officials (including both Attorney Generals) acted properly in approving and overseeing the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program run out of the National Security Agency. The reason given was that they didn't have the proper security clearances.
It turns out they were denied access to documents already in the DoJ's possession
. In other words, the higher-ups just wanted the investigation stopped.
From today's National Journal
The only classified information that OPR investigators were seeking about the NSA's eavesdropping program was what had already been given to Ashcroft, Gonzales and other department attorneys in their original approval and advice on the program....
The piece has a gem of a quote from the man who used to run the DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility:
Michael Shaheen, who headed the OPR from its inception [in 1975] until 1997, said that his staff "never, ever was denied a clearance," and that OPR had conducted numerous investigations involving the activities of attorneys general. "No attorney general has ever said no to me," Shaheen said. He added that, over the past several years, the OPR's muscle has degraded, in part because it was stripped of its authority to pursue criminal investigations. But under the Bush administration, the weakening has been especially pronounced, Shaheen said. "I just think that the White House has so frightened everybody.... If I were still at OPR and was told I couldn't have security clearances, the first word out of my mouth ... would have been, 'Balderdash!' "