March 4th, 2009
01:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Leahy calls for 'truth commission' on torture

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has called for a commission on torture allegations.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has called for a commission on torture allegations.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman called Wednesday for the establishment of a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" to investigate allegations of wrongdoing against former Bush administration officials in their prosecution of the war on terrorism.

Nothing "did more to damage America's place in the world than the revelation that our great nation stretched the law and the bounds of executive power to authorize torture and cruel treatment," Sen. Patrick Leahy said at the start of a committee hearing.

American "detention policies and practices from Guantanamo Bay [Cuba] and Abu Ghraib [Iraq] have seriously eroded fundamental American principles of the rule of law," he added.

Leahy, D-Vermont, called for the "truth commission" to have a "targeted mandate" focusing on issues of national security and executive power. He said it should look specifically at allegations of "questionable interrogation techniques," "extraordinary rendition" and the "executive override of laws."

He added that the commission should have the power to issue subpoenas and offer immunity to witnesses "in order to get to the whole truth."

Leahy refused to rule out of the possibility of prosecutions for perjury committed during the commission's hearings.

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Filed under: Patrick Leahy • Senate
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Sure glad Obama has brought bipartisanship to Washington. Let the salem witch trails begin. Maybe we need a sanity commission to see if Congress really understands what our true problems are. Senator McCarty, I mean Leahy gets investigated first.

    March 4, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. mervin

    Could it coincide with a truth commission on tax dodging democraps?

    March 4, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. meh

    "Americans don't care"

    Speak for yourself!!

    March 4, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Veteran in Kansas

    Absolutely, we need to get to the truth about some of the darkest days in our nations history. All must come out, to include the sacrificing of military personnel to take the blame for actions taken by our leaders.

    March 4, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Alfred E. Nueman

    Forget about a Truth Commission, we need a special prosecutor. A"Truth Commission" won't have any legal standing. It will be nothing but a farce. If they are serious about getting to the bottom of this they will appoint a special prosecutor. Anything less is a scam.

    March 4, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Reatte Beaumont, Texas

    If it keeps our country safe I have no problem with torture how would you feel when they come in here and start the torture on americans and look what is happening in Arizona with 400 kidnappings there last year. One day people will wake up and take a look around and ask what has happened to the good old USA . Did anybody ask about toture when the planes went into the world trade centers no they didn't so get the hell over it we have better things to worry about like how obama is going to turn us into a third world country and all of us suffer from it and then lets talk about torture.

    GOD BLESS ALL OF US AND AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    change is what people want will here it is and good luck with it!!!!!

    March 4, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. SOL

    SENATOR.. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF....

    March 4, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Alex from NJ

    Worriedmom wrote:
    "Whatever it takes to keep us safe, then so be it."

    You know who else said that? Hitler!

    Hey "worriedmom" Who was watching the watchmen for the past eight yrs? NOBODY!

    March 4, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Matthew, Detroit

    LEAHY is what is called an empty suit.

    Lots of talk and no integrity.

    Guy is a worthless jerk.

    March 4, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Lush Limprick and Osama bin Laden have the same vision for America - FAILURE!

    And this time there can be no claims of executive privilege to protect and keep them above the law, which to repubs way of thinking, only applies to the "little" people.

    March 4, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. Mike Dallas

    You go Senator Leahy, the repubs spent 70+ million taxpayer 's dollars on a bj.

    Uncovering the many lies of the last 8 years is at least worth that.

    March 4, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. J.P.

    Hey bub, how about a "truth commission" on the intelligence data you WILLINGLY leaked 20 years ago?

    Believe me, if there were any justice in this world, Pat Leahy would have been tossed out on his yellow belly 20 years ago.

    Cicero said: "A nation can survive its fools, even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within … for the traitor appears not a traitor. … He rots the soul of a nation … he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist."

    March 4, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. An independent

    Please stop this madness. If he is not going to prosecute those responsible, why waste our time and money. This guy needs to get a new job. He is warped in his thinking. He has been in Washington to long and has lost any since of usefulness.

    If you really beleive in the ideals of this Nation then you prosecute those who knowingly broke the law and those who were responsible for their behavior other wise just shut up.

    We will support you if you commit to prosecution for the wrongdoers. If you don't then please just go away.

    March 4, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. jb

    Looking at this Dweeb is torture. Put him in some women's panties put him on the top of a pyramid and make him bark like a dog till he tells who's side he is on.

    March 4, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. Bill, LA

    Screw that frigging Leahy. He wouldn't recognize the truth if it hit him in the face and he is morally bankrupt just like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanual, paul Begala, James Carville and yes the "Great Himself" (obama).

    March 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Proud Yankee

    Leahy is one of the very few members of our government who maintains a high level of honesty and integrity. I support his efforts 100%. Bush pledged "accountability" to the American people, now let's have some!

    March 4, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Ryan

    You people who think that these interrogation techniques (or torture, or whatever you want to call it) started with GWB's administration have your heads in the sand. If you're calling for Bush and Cheney's heads, you may as well call for Clinton and Gore's also. The CIA and the military have been using these tactics for years, during both democratic and republican administrations. It's only been publicized widely in the last 5-6 years b/c of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo.

    March 4, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. Once you vote Black

    Wow Patton, what is treasonous about an investigation that will clear Bush? I say look into it. Look under every rock. You will not find that Bush or any of his buds have done anything wrong. And if you do, then just do what the constitution calls for. After all one of the GOP madates is that we follow the constitution, what is wrong with that? I am sure Bush will be cleared or out of jail in short order if he did do anything wrong. How bad of a crime could it have been?

    March 4, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Tom in Delaware

    My favorite T-shirt reads "I'd rather be waterboarding".

    I think that says it all.

    March 4, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. dumbocrat alert

    Go for it leaky leahy and make sure you include the congressa that tortures us daily with your failures.

    March 4, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. mkt2000

    Ahk Dung! When is congress going to look at themselves who voted for all the "War Crimes". They mis-led us is only to go so far. Now my children are required to pay for socialism. What a country!

    March 4, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. Harry

    Leahy is stupid guy. He does not know what he is talking about. He should be retired. I cannot understand these Vermont people why they elect such senators. Sanders is another one from their state. Both are useless and should retire. Give younger generation a chance.

    March 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Matthew, Detroit

    Leahy how about re winding the tapes on Barney Frank when he

    refused to change the banking laws concerning mortgages.

    Take a look at that my friend.

    March 4, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. NoLeftTurn

    Sounds like the McCarthy era again.

    March 4, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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