Mukasey's lips zipped on destroyed CIA tapes

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Attorney General Michael MukaseySenate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy

\ Mr. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, and ranking committee member Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, on Monday asked the new attorney general to share details of what the Justice Department knew and when about the tapes’ destruction.\

\ No dice, Mr. Mukasey said today, engaging in a bit of preemptive rhetorical warfare when explaining his reasons.\

\ “The Department has a long-standing policy of declining to provide non-public information about pending matters. This policy is based in part on our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence,” Mr. Mukasey said.\

\ Mr. Mukasey was brought in as a replacement for Alberto Gonzales, who Democrats said had allowed the Justice Department to be too influenced by the Bush administration’s political preferences. \

\ “At my confirmation hearing, I testified that I would act independently, resist political pressure and ensure that politics plays no role in cases brought by the Department of Justice. Consistent with that testimony, the facts will be followed wherever they lead in this inquiry, and the relevant law applied,” said the attorney general.\

\

\ — Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times \

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