With less than two days before his scheduled appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Michael Mukasey today released a pretty upbeat overview of the Justice Department.
However, Mukasey avoids all mention of waterboarding or interrogation in a 24-page statement.
Instead, he praises various programs and also pleads with senators to pass a revised Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill that accommodates the White House's wishes and perspective. He devotes four pages to FISA reform.
"Of course, we will not always agree," Mukasey writes ahead of Wednesday's oversight hearing. "There are policy initiatives that the department supports that some members of this committee vigorously oppose, and vice-versa."
Mukasey's avoidance of sensitive topics was not lost on Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) who released the following statement:
"Attorney General Mukasey’s prepared testimony did not address issues members of the Committee have asked him about in advance of the hearing, such as whether he agrees that waterboarding is torture and illegal, and about the status of the Department’s investigation into the CIA’s destruction of detainee interrogation tapes," Leahy said. "I look forward to questioning the Attorney General about these and other matters, including his plans to address rising crime, public corruption and the politicization of the Department of Justice. We must have a candid and responsive dialogue with the Attorney General as we work to rebuild the Department of Justice.”