Now, thanks to the Bush Administration, we are accustomed to news about government lawyers bending the facts, twisting the law or even ignoring it, as all the news about past torture memos has illustrated, but this is different. This is basic law school 101 type stuff here. How could Justice bungle it so badly?
Well, the answer may have been simpler than we thought. They are simply incompetent. At least that seems to be the view of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) which yesterday asked Justice Department Inspector General Glenn fine to investigate the Criminal Division’s inadequate training and supervision of line attorneys. CREW based its request partly on the dismissal of the indictments of four Blackwater security guards statements of the defendants in pursuing the case. CREW notes that with respect to using immunized testimony that it could not have been done without the sign‐off of at least one supervisor.
CREW says that the IG should investigate because the cases suggest a bigger problem: overall poor supervision and case management and inadequate training.
CREW’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “The fact that prosecutors have bungled such well‐publicized matters — where you’d think everyone would be at the top of their game — suggests misconduct, ineptitude and insufficient training may be rampant in less visible matters where defendants are not represented by elite criminal defense lawyers, who have the tools necessary to expose these deficiencies.” Sloan continued, “All Americans lose when those charged with grave offenses escape prosecution not because of their innocence, but because the Department of Justice has failed to properly train and supervise its lawyers. An investigation by the IG and recommendations for systemic reform would help restore public confidence in the department.”
Reading CREWS letter to the IG one is left with the impression that at least some Justice Department lawyers make the Keystone Cops look like Seal Team 6 in comparison.