Sometimes a comparison is the best way to illustrate a point.
Suppose, after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri a year ago, the Obama administration had decided – as it in fact did – that the Ferguson police and courts needed to be investigated for their history of law enforcement practices.
But instead of the Obama Justice Department conducting an investigation itself, the federal government called in a third party to negotiate an agreement with the city of Ferguson as to how it would be investigated.
Applying the “Iran verification” standard to the issues of policing in American cities, the U.S. Justice Department would have relied on an “independent” third party – one without any legal authority, and only there at the sufferance of Ferguson – to come up with a plan of its own to investigate the city’s police department.
Suppose, for argument’s sake, that the third party was the Chamber of Commerce, with a hired team of subject matter experts. Under the Iran verification standard, it would sit down with the city authorities to decide how Ferguson’s past policing practices would be investigated. If the city would agree only to provide a self-reported summary of its policing history, without giving investigators access to buildings or records, or allowing them to question personnel, that’s the product the Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. DOJ would get.
There would probably be critics of this plan. But DOJ would tell them that it was standard for investigators in such cases to have “side agreements” with the cities involved, and that it wasn’t DOJ’s job to interfere in them, or even know what the terms were.