March 4th, 2009
01:45 PM ET
5 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. gt

    idiot who want s free air time ,,,, fix the econmy stupid.....

    March 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Why did the CIA destroy 92 interrogation tapes? This committee is necessary and indictments need to start coming down. As the President stated, the U.S. does not condone torture.

    March 4, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Gen Patton

    Retire, you treasonous idiot!

    March 4, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. katiec

    I hope it doesn't stop there. There were many illegal, shady,
    unscrupulous actions that happened these last eight years under the
    power of our previous administration And going on now with Rove
    completely ignoring subpoenas and getting away with it.
    That administration and advisors feel they are totally above the law
    and that is not how our country works.

    March 4, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Simpliticus

    Pressures were brought to bear and evidence has been accumulated to compel former Bush administration officials to talk. Scenes from the movie about the Nuremberg trials will oft compare to what occurred under the last president!

    March 4, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Sandra

    I am sorry, but I am glad that the Bush administration used the tactics it did to keep us safe. The discomfort of a terrorist is worth keeping Americans safe. Has there been an attack on American soil since 9/11? You are not going to get information out of a terrorist by having tea with them. Leahy needs to quit waste time and tax payer dollars on this non issue and move on to important issues.

    March 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. JEEZ

    Give it a rest already, I could care less of suspected terrorist was tortured...seems like Pres.Obama does not want to go there either.

    March 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. HD

    Shut your pie-hole. Focus on the economy instead of the Gotcha politics of yesterday!

    March 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. cnnnewser

    YES!!!
    Hats off to Senator Leahy!
    The republicans are going to love this...LOL It'll be interesting to see how many denounce leahy on the torture investigation.

    March 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Ryanna

    This country should NOT torture. Bush is a war criminal who should be prosecuted.

    March 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    How about "truth commission" on the members of congress and administration themselves?

    March 4, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Freed_From_W

    NO IMMUNITY FOR WAR CRIMINALS!!!

    March 4, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Marc

    Gen Patton – Is it a treasonous act to try to find the truth? To discover exactly what was made in the name of the public safety and the Constitution? In your dreams...

    March 4, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. R in Maine

    You do not have to put them all in jail. Just identify all of the republicans who so enthusiastically engaged in torture. The people will reward them appropriately.

    March 4, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Rob

    Yes, because with every single other aspect of this country the Dems are screwing up, let's go on a worthless snipe hunt that will find NOTHING!

    America's enemies are laughing at us right now. Oh wait, there's already a group of them in D.C., just look to the Capitol and the White House.

    Plus you gotta like all these morons who post here, who have no real idea what a war criminal is. Hey dolts, Michael Moore spoon feed you this bull, or Keith Olberman?

    March 4, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Annie

    Leahy is acting like a dog with a bone who won't let go.

    Americans don't care....we have bigger issues to handle, like the Economy, Corrupt politicians, Excessive spending, Earmarks that won't go away and the Trillion Tax Payer dollars being flushed down the toilet.

    Why doesn't Leahy push to find out why Senator Rangel is not being held accountable for tax evasion?

    President Obama wants us to move forward so why is Leahy stuck in the past?

    March 4, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Grog in Ohio

    Scratch the idea of immunity. Someone needs to go to jail and I don't want to see it be some Staff Sergeant. John Yoo had better get an attorney that is far better at his calling than Yoo himself is.

    March 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. worriedmom

    Here is the man who didn't want anything investigated on Clinton and impeachment. It was ok to lie to the Americans on National Television or bomb a pharmeticul co so it would be a distraction to Monica. Amazing! Hey we were "sissies" compared to torture that other countries have done to our wonderful men and women. Whatever it takes to keep us safe, then so be it. Put the old fool in Iran and see if he sees different on torture!!

    March 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Proud 'Country First' Redneck

    Gen Patton March 4th, 2009 2:08 pm ET
    Retire, you treasonous idiot!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The United States is not the center of the world. Jesus Christ was not American.

    Contrary to what you may believe, with all of your heart.

    March 4, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. cmc

    don't necessarily agree with the immunity aspect of this, as long as they get to the bottom of this farce they call the past administration. No immunity for Bush or Cheney, those 2 need to be at Gitmo for the rest of their lives with no Secret Service available to protect them, then they will know what the people of the world feel about them.

    March 4, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Larry

    Go Go Go ...

    Put them all in jail

    I can only imagine what we will never know

    But I would sure love to see George and his buddies pay for the crimes they committed

    Equal justice for all ... period

    March 4, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Kiddo

    Truth commission?

    The truth is that the Bush administration tortured prisoners of war.

    March 4, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. dennisk

    Justice would be Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield spending the rest of their miserable lives in prison.

    March 4, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    How about Bush starting an illegal immoral war based on deception? Doesn't THAT warrant investigation?

    March 4, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Tom

    Absolutely – there must be justice and the rule of law

    March 4, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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