After 10 years and $21 million spent investigating former U.S. Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros, the last independent counsel from the Clinton era ended his probe yesterday with a complaint that he needed more time to unravel what might have been a massive “coverup at high levels of our government,” says the Los Angeles Times. David M. Barrett, a former Republican lawyer and lobbyist who was appointed in 1995 to investigate the Democrat, issued a 474-page “Final Report of the Independent Counsel.” He released a one-page statement, saying, “An accurate title for the report could be ‘What We Were Prevented From Investigating,’ ”
His report offered no evidence of a coverup. It did say that numerous officials at the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service were not impressed by his allegations that the former San Antonio mayor might have cheated on his federal income taxes prior to 1992. In 1999, Cisneros pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI about how much money he had given to a former mistress. For at least four years afterward, Barrett continued to spend $2 million a year pursuing his theory that his probe had been thwarted.It “is a fitting conclusion to one of the most embarrassingly incompetent and wasteful episodes in the history of American law enforcement,” said Robert Litt, a former Justice Department official during the Clinton administration. Barrett wasted millions in tax dollars “in the pursuit of his hallucinatory obstruction investigation,” Litt said.