The Senate Judiciary Committee just reconvened after a short break requested by the attorney general. Before recessing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) pushed Michael Mukasey to discuss the process by which an interrogator on foreign soil would go about getting approval to use enhanced techniques on a suspected terrorist.
Mukasey said that the interrogator would have to contact the Director of the CIA, who would in turn consult with Mukasey on the technique’s legality. Once Mukasey had rendered a legal opinion, he would make his recommendation to the president, who would have ultimate yea-or-ney authority.
Then Feinstein asked whether it was legal for the government to subcontract the interrogation work to someone or some entity other than the CIA.
“The short answer is, I don’t know,” Mukasey said.
“I would like to ask to get an opinion on that,” Feinstein said.
Mukasey said he would look into the matter. While he was at it, Feinstein said, he should look into recent reports that the Justice Department is obstructing Office of Special Counsel’s investigation into the U.S. attorney firings. Scott Bloch, the office’s head, sent a letter last week to the attorney general saying he has been denied requests for evidence and documents relating to the firings.
“Can you give us clarity on why the department has not responded to the special counsel?”
Mukasey, as if to explain the delay, said he believed Block's office was located outside of the Justice Department. (It is.)
“I will see to it that he gets a response,” Mukasey said.