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. Jane/Seattle

    I'll believe in this when I see GWB and all his minions in prison.

    August 30, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Palin 2012 - 2014 1/2

    Investigate and torture the crooks!!!!!

    August 30, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Scott, Tucson

    I agree, but first lets prosecute Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and Chuck Schummer for their complicity in the Fannie mae / Freddie mac debacle which led to the economic meltdown. Than prosecute Charlie Rangle for tax evasion and that's just for starters but I guess we would have to wait till after 2010 when the republicans regain the majority before this can happen.

    Lord help the democrats if terrorists were to launch a major attack and they had a member of the group in custody and their softball interrogation methods failed to disclosed the attack.

    August 30, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Jane G.

    HEAR, HEAR!! No one is above the law.

    Cheney is afraid he'll be indicted- you can see it every time he protests!

    August 30, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. mike

    And just how is telling our enemies that we will, from now on, "follow the law" going to be a "more effective" way to fight terrorism?

    August 30, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. LBFin NorCal

    The investigation certainly is appropriate. To decline investigating the allegations of torture by the CIA certainly doesn't uphold "the American way."

    August 30, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Lollipops for Terrorists!

    "Whose side are they on?"

    The new campaign slogan for Republicans to oust these traitorous Democrat scum!

    August 30, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. annie for Palin

    No one is above being legally prosecuted for trying to destroy the constitution of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA as the demmies are trying to do!

    August 30, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. sjsloan66

    Bill Clinton was not above the law why should Cheney and Bush be above the law

    August 30, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Keith in CA

    Those who oppose this investigation probably thought the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was just like sending them to summer camp.

    August 30, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Artie

    What else would a liberal democrat say? May they be treated in kind when they get voted out and that is not to far off!

    August 30, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. carolflowery

    and while they are at it, check charlie rangel's tax sheets, how do you simply forget where half a million bucks are, and hey while at it, check to see if timothy geithner and tom daschle are now paying their taxes, and and ummm while you are at it, check and see if obama received foreign funds for his almost a billion fund raiser for his campaign , afterall, he raised it in the the middle an almost other depression, at least that is what he said it was, an economic crisis

    August 30, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. John

    How about tax cheats? Are THEY above the law?

    August 30, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Post always rejected by CNN

    Well the bush administration thought they were above the law. Look at what Rove has done. He has not been held accountable for one darn thing. I think it is time he was made to pay the piper, instead of raking in the dough.

    August 30, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Maria - Proud Democrat

    The CIA agents should not be persecuted for following orders.

    Every CIA action is OK'd by their Presidents........ALL Presidents....Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama.

    Have we forgotten about....Vietnam, Invasion of Panama, Bombing of Lebanon, Grenada, Kosovo, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan?

    To this day we have people dying in Afghanistan.

    So if we want to make changes then we need to pass legislation that will limit the power of all Presidents and their administrations. Let's stop pretending to care by persecuting the small fish.....the small fish who put their lives on the line to keep us safe while the big fat fish stay in their offices and pretend to no now what is going on.

    August 30, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Robert

    You're darn right... NO ONE is above the law. ESPECIALLY those at the very top! This has to be done.

    August 30, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. katiec

    If the CIA cannot survive scrutiny than that makes one wonder.
    They are expected to do their job and if being investigated will
    deter this than we have a real problem.
    I do not feel those following orders should be the only
    ones being responsible for laws, treaties etc broken.
    These actions have blackened what our country has always stood
    for, our reputation and our respect. The powers behind these criminal activities should be held responsible and accountable. They have
    always thought they were above the law.

    August 30, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Brad

    The investigation is unfortunate but necessary. For the U.S. to not investigate this would be a hipocrisy of our values and laws. Terrorist organizations are probably already using the CIA's torture techniques as a way of justifying the actions they're taking. It all needs to end.

    August 30, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Enough with secret government and enough with the lying scourges Bush and Cheney. They are NOT ABOVE THE LAW even though they trampled it.

    August 30, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. lou

    Dick Cheney is trying to save his own arse. Notice how these guys are sticking pretty close to home these days. If they leave the country, they run the risk of being arrested and tried in international court. We should not be protecting these scum bags.

    August 30, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Joe Terrogano

    Let's just suspend the rule of law and accountability for all elected officials and government agents. We will just trust their human decency and sense of justice. Surely, they will commit no wrong. No? Oh well then maybe we need to know the truth, regardless of how inconvenient it might be. Because to allow the former idea is to invite a totalitarian government into a Democracy. Right wing nuts aside, hell no I do not trust government enough to suspend oversight. Isn't that how we eneded up in this recession in the first place (no regulation)?

    August 30, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. SA

    I guess no laws were broken on 9/11? Timid leadership by Senator Cantwell sort of tells you the path we are going down. Let the CIA do their job like they have always done and we will be a safer country. Polital gain should be set aside here.

    August 30, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. jimbo

    When you give me the same "penalty" for not paying my taxes as was given Geithner, then I will listen to you. To quote a liberal favorite, " this is political, staight up"

    August 30, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Dave, the Truthteller

    Except for the Massachutes legislature that change the law, depending upon which party holds the governorship.

    August 30, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Gerry

    This was investigated 5 years ago and determined it need not go any further. This is exactly political investigate until some gets it. Another stupid political move to tear the country apart.

    August 30, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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