After Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused congressional demands for information Friday, the Justice Department filed late-night court documents urging a federal judge not to begin his own inquiry.
...Congressional inquiries and criminal investigations frequently overlap and it is not uncommon for the Justice Department to ask lawmakers to ease off. The request for the court to stand down is more unusual. Judges take seriously even the suggestion that evidence was destroyed, but they also are reluctant to wade into political debates.
Kennedy ordered the administration in June 2005 to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."
Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos, which involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
...[Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey S.] Bucholtz argued that the tapes were not covered by Kennedy's court order because Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were not at the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba. The men were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes had been destroyed.
...Even if Kennedy agrees that the government did not violate his order, he still could schedule a hearing. He could raise questions about obstruction or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."
Speaking of obstruction, Senator Lindsay Graham is becoming the new Arlen Specter. The House passed a bill that bans waterboarding yesterday and Graham blocked it from being voted upon in the Senate. So even though he believes waterboarding violates the Geneva Convention ("I don’t think you have to have a lot of knowledge about the law to understand this technique violates Geneva Convention common article three, the War Crimes statutes...") and plainly was pissed off at Brigadier General Hartmann during a Senate Judiciary Commitee hearing on Guantanamo detainees, he still protects the Worst President Ever and prevents Bush from having to veto a bill banning waterboarding.
Just like Specter, Graham is all talk, talk, talk and then continues to tow the party line. Heckuva job, Grahamy.