August 30th, 2009
03:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Dem on CIA probe: 'No one is above the law'


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A week before Congress returns from its August recess, there are already signs that a recently announced Justice Department investigation into the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects will be a source of tension between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“This investigation is very appropriate,” Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “No one is above the law. This is not a political process. This is a legal process. It’s a legal process to find out whether the law was broken.”

Cantwell was answering Republican criticism – most notably from former Vice President Dick Cheney - that the recent decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to open an investigation into CIA interrogations was politically motivated and runs the risk of making the spy agency timid in tracking down terrorists who intend to do the country harm.

Related: CIA probe is political, Cheney says

“They’re making it so the people at the CIA are afraid to do anything,” said Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Frankly, it’s gone way too far,” Hatch told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

But Cantwell rejected the notion that pursuing an investigation of possible wrongdoing would make the CIA shy away from combating terrorism in the future.

“This is not about being timid. This is about being effective,” Cantwell said, “And if we want to be effective in the war on terrorism, we have to communicate to everyone that we are going to follow the law and we want their help in bringing about justice for the American people and to make them secure.”

“I applaud the Attorney General,” Cantwell added, “because I’m sure it’s a tenuous issue to be the chief law enforcement officer of this country.”


Filed under: CIA • Orrin Hatch • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    When people criticized Bush when he was president, they were called unpatriotic and helping the terrorists because we were at war.

    Now when Cheney and others criticize President Obama, they say they are being patriotic and if they don't, they'll be helping the terrorists.

    We're still at war; the only that has changed is the Republicans are out of power.

    Conclusion: Republicans like Cheney, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, et al care about only one thing: staying in power. They do not care about the United States; they only care about themselves.

    August 30, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. nycguy

    Republicans know if an investigation takes place, their illegal and unconstitutional conduct will be exposed. All their handwringing and griping about the Constitution and individual liberty and freedom will be exposed for the hypocrisy it represents. Republicans cannot pretend to support the constitution when its convenient and then ask, "whose side are you on?" if you support the constitution on a day when they decide not to. The Constitution exists not as a political convenience but to truly hold our nation to a set of laws and principles that must be adhered to. Republican or Democrat, if you've enacted policies that allowed for torture, or conducted torture yourself, you've violated international law and the U.S. Constitution and you must pay the price for it. Otherwise, what are we fighting so hard to defend?

    August 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. John

    While you're at it, nail Cheney and Rove to the wall for treason for outing a covert CIA agent for political gain.

    It's called justice.

    August 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Why didn't AG Holder preserve the law when he dropped the case against the" New Black Panthers" who were clearly guilty of voter intimidation. No way, the Obama administration is soft on terror and tough on America's heros. These men in the CIA that developed intel that saved lives and brought other terrorist to justice deserve Medals not prosecution. The Liberal Left is so out of touch with reality, God save are Republic!

    August 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. John

    The Republicans will claim "this will give America a black eye" as if their actions for the last 7-8 yrs hasn't done any harm. They will scream that "this is un-American" as if the torture of children somehow "is American". The Republicans will say "this is a political ploy" as if they didn't manipulate the Terror Warnings to suit their political needs. I ask "How much longer will we give them credibility." How much longer?

    August 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Jeff

    No one is above the law? Great comment, great battle cry, but last time I checked we were kinda at war. Does this mean our military will now face criminal charges for murder? Alot of great people are giving everything they have for this country. If some terrorist is on a waterboard, I won't loss a minute's sleep.

    August 30, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. She says no one is above the law....

    but what will she say if Al Qaeda comes to her neighborhood?????

    August 30, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Craig Nazor

    "'They’re making it so the people at the CIA are afraid to do anything,' said Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch."

    No, they are making it so that the people at the CIA are afraid to do anything ILLEGAL. That is the only kind of CIA that I, as an American citizen, will support. If Orrin Hatch doesn't like due process, then maybe he should move to South Korea.

    August 30, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. matt

    They are definitely hiding something, prosecute em!

    August 30, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Joe the Pundit

    Looks the the uneducated, right wing, fanatic, Christian Taliban just wants to turn the other way while the CIA and Cheney disregard the Constitution. This scum should be sent to Saudi Arabia where they can live with their like minded theocratic kin.

    August 30, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. marlene

    Just one question, and that is why do the Republicans fear the Department of Justice? Eric Holder doesn't report to President Obama. Isn't impartiality the ideal, even if it hasn't always been during the last eight years under former President Bush and VP Cheney. It is just to bad the Department of Justice can't investigate who gave the orders to torture.

    August 30, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. aboveTheLaw

    "No one is above the law"? Interesting. Let's check your voting record regarding illegal immigration. I see....some people are, in fact, above the law. I think every time an elected official uses that 'no one is above the law' statement, the next question should should ask their position on illegal immigration. It's the easiest illustration of their hypocrisy.

    August 30, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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