AG Mukasey Sics Justice Probers on Wiretap Program

Surprise investigation signals new independence from White house
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2007 4:00 AM CST
Retired federal judge Michael Mukasey is shown in this Sept. 17, 2007,file photo in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Mukasey was sworn in Friday, Nov. 9, 2007, as the nation's 81st attorney...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – New Attorney General Michael Mukasey has named the Justice Department 's first investigative target: the Justice Department. Mukasey has reopened an internal probe of the role played by the agency's own attorneys in the controversial post-911warrantless wiretap program, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move is a key signal that Mukasey may operate more independently of the White House than his predecessor.

The investigation will focus on whether federal attorneys "complied with their ethical obligations" in the domestic surveillance operation, said a spokesman.  A congressional critic of the program called the probe "an extraordinary beginning—we may have an attorney general who understands that his obligations and responsibilities are to the people and not the president."