Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday clarified his recent comments about Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to probe possible CIA interrogation abuses, saying he supports Holder’s authority to investigation but does not support the investigation itself, The Washington Times reported.
On Tuesday, Reuters and Main Justice reported that Gonzales supported Holder’s decision to investigate. His comments came during an interview with The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. During the interview, Gonzales said if people go beyond the established parameters for interrogations, “I think it is legitimate to question and examine that conduct to ensure people are held accountable for their actions, even if it’s action in prosecuting the war on terror. ”
On Thursday, in a follow-up interview with The Times, Gonzales offered the clarification. “I don’t support the investigation by the department because this is a matter that has already been reviewed thoroughly and because I believe that another investigation is going to harm our intelligence gathering capabilities and that’s a concern that’s shared by career intelligence officials and so for those reasons I respectfully disagree with the decision,” Gonzales said.
Regarding his earlier comments, Gonzales said he was not endorsing the investigations, but rather Holder’s right to conduct the probe. He said, “It’s an endorsement of his right to exercise his discretion,” adding, “I’m just saying I would have exercised my discretion in a different manner, given the information I have.”
Gonzales would not say what evidence was uncovered during the Bush administration that led him to deem Holder’s probe unnecessary. “This has been looked at, and I agree with President Obama that we ought to be looking forward,” he said Thursday.
Click here to read the transcript of the interview.
This post has been updated.