Congress Must Find Out: Who Destroyed the Tapes?

The Democratic Congress might have taken impeachment "off the table" but it cannot ignore the Central Intelligence Agency's obstruction of justice. Destroying videotaped evidence of CIA personnel torturing Al Qaeda suspects in violation of U.S. law is no small matter.

Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel and other Democratic leaders might see their institutional role only in terms of positioning their party to win the next elections, but if they are so weak as to let this criminal behavior inside the nation's pre-eminent intelligence service go unchecked then they will be just as responsible for the destruction of the Constitutional checks and balances as are the Bush-Cheney administration.

There must be a special select committee formed right now charged with getting to the bottom of this latest sign that we have been governed by an unchecked executive that sees itself above the law. Anything short of a full accounting will have lasting effects for our republic. We are in triage now trying to save what is left of our system of government. The time for fretting about how this criminality will play out in the 2008 election is now over. It's time for the truth!

Former CIA Director Porter Goss should face a subpoena to testify to the Congress forthwith. The Congress must obtain any and all documents or other materials relating to the CIA's torture and secret gulag program. The Justice Department under the head waterboarder Michael Mukasey should be forced to request the convening of grand juries to investigate whether or not officials in the CIA -- who are these people? -- obstructed justice by withholding evidence in criminal proceedings (the Moussaoui case) and from the milquetoast "9-11 Commission."

The Bush CIA officials learned a valuable lesson from Richard Nixon: Just destroy all of the tapes. Now it is time for Congress to learn its own lesson from the Nixon-COINTELPRO era: Do your Constitutional duty!