Holder Appoints John Durham To Investigate Torture Claims

by Ben Hoffman

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

So who is John Durham?

By the early ’90s, working out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut, he was receiving national attention heading cases against New England crime kings, providing evidence to put John Gotti behind bars, and going after crooked politicos like former Connecticut governor John Rowland. In 1999, he was asked by former attorney general Janet Reno to investigate a number of corrupt state police officers and FBI agents in Boston that had been working with the mob (a case whose players served as inspiration for characters in the Oscar-winning film, The Departed).

During the ’80s and ’90s, Durham became known in New England as the “white knight”: dogged, spotlight-shy, puritanical, and successful. He’s a devout Catholic that takes no prisoners in the court room. As of 2001, he’d never lost a case. In July 2004, he was awarded the Award for Exceptional Service by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Sounds like he’s a good man for the job — on the same caliber as Patrick Fitzgerald.

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