Per Reuters this evening:
U.S. rejects outside probe of Canadian sent to Syria
Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:18pm EDT - By James Vicini
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said on Wednesday he had rejected a request from lawmakers that an outside special counsel investigate the case of a Canadian taken off a plane in New York and sent to Syria, where he says he was tortured.
Mukasey said under questioning at a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing that he did not believe that a special counsel was warranted "at this time."
Maher Arar, a Syrian-born software engineer, was taken into custody by U.S. officials during a 2002 stopover in New York while on his way home to Canada and then deported to Syria because of suspected links to al Qaeda.
Arar says he was imprisoned in Syria for a year and tortured. His case has become a sore spot in U.S.-Canada relations.
Rep. William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, cited testimony last month that U.S. officials may have sent Arar to Syria, rather than Canada, because they knew of the likelihood of torture.
"If that doesn't trigger need for a special prosecutor, I can't imagine what would," he said.
Mukasey said U.S. officials received assurances from Syria that Arar would not be tortured. "Sending him to Canada could have posed a threat to our country," Mukasey said, adding that sending him to Syria was "safer."
'TENDENCY TO COVER UP ITS CRIMES'
Maria LaHood, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which represents Arar in the United States, replied, "Sending Maher to Syria instead of home to Canada was certainly not safer for him, and did nothing to make the United States safer."
She said, "The tendency of the Department of Justice to cover up its crimes is exactly why an outside prosecutor is needed."
The title of this post says it all . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)