Friday, October 03, 2003

Justice Department granted White House delay on order to preserve records in CIA agent leak investigation

NPR Redacted the following paragraph from its October 2, 2003 "Morning Addition" Transcript:

NINA TOTENBERG: "Well no administration ever wants an independent overseer, and there are very good career people who are in charge of this investigation, but it could get hairy. Yesterday I talked to a former justice department official who wondered to me why the White House had asked the Justice Department if they could wait a day, earlier this week, before directing the White House staff to preserve all phone and email records, and why, similarly, the Justice Department had agreed to let the White House wait that day. In the last analysis career people can't make some of the decisions that will have to be made, like whether to call a reporter before a grand jury. The Attorney General under Justice (Department) regulations is required to make that decision. A career person can't make it. And if a leaker is identified and not prosecuted it could raise problems with the CIA. Will the agency believe that a decision not to prosecute was made fairly, or will it, as one former Justice Department official put it to me, open a chasm of distrust between the two agencies. As I said no administration likes to open itself up to outside investigators. And the temperature isn't that hot yet, despite that poll you cited at the beginning, but it could get that hot, and we just can't know right now whether the temperature will get that hot for a long time and make it impossible to continue the course that the administration now has chosen to take."

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