Mukasey is an idiot when it comes to waterboarding. Go look at TPM for a bunch of bits of his testimony, I especially like the one with Whitehouse:
WHITEHOUSE: Has that been done?
Has there been a thorough, independent analysis, under your administration, of whether or not any national of the United States is potentially in violation of Section 2340(a), as a result of…
MUKASEY: I don’t start investigations out of curiosity. I start investigations out of some indication that somebody might have had an improper authorization. I have no such indication now.
I would guess then that this is what he would say if the police found someone dead:
‘Should we investigate to see how they died?’
Mukasey: ‘We don’t know if the person was murdered, so no.’
‘But if we investigate. We might find that it was murder.
Mukasey: ‘I don’t start investigations out of curiosity. I have no indication now that they were murdered.’
The reason this is similar is that it’s known that people under US care were waterboarded and most reasonable people believe waterboarding is torture (the US military for one). This means there is an indication of a crime at the very least. His reasoning would apply to my case above also.
Obviously, he’s being deliberately obtuse here because he’s protecting people.
Update: He’s not just acting stupid in terms of waterboarding, look here also:
When Sen. Arlen Specter—concerned about seven years of vast new claims of executive authority—asks Mukasey whether, in his view, the president “can break any law he pleases because he’s the president—including, say, statutes banning torture,” as well as FISA and the National Security Act, Mukasey replies, “I can’t contemplate any situation in which this president would assert Article II authority to do something that the law forbids.”
“Well, he did just that when he violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Specter shoots back. Mukasey’s response? “Both of those issues have been brought within statutes.”
Specter is flabbergasted: “But he acted in violation of statutes, didn’t he?”
“I don’t know,” Mukasey replies.
Note again the willful ignorance, Bush’s actions in terms of FISA and others is well known. The only reason Mukasey says that he doesn’t know is that it would cause problems: either someone would be prosecuted or there would be a court battle to see if Bush really is allowed to disregard laws.