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. CR

    Let justice be done. We should be a nation that respects the rule of law.

    August 30, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. matt c

    Torture is against the law–period. I get ill when I hear some are worried about morale at the cia over this. Are some folks really saying we shouldn't investigate potential criminals because it will hurt morale? Think about that.

    As for the previous investigation, there is reason to believe that could have been politically tainted. Besides, it was limited in scope. A full ag investigation is justified.

    August 30, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. We the people!

    If no body is above the law, then prosecute all the tax evaders in our entire legislative body, current and former, to the extent of the law. Prove that there is honor in what you say!

    August 30, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Lombardi Graham

    All people on this blog who wont the cia investigated I guess you didn't lose a loveone after 911 are new somebody that lose a loveone are the one's wont the cia investigated. You didn't have a problem after 911 with the cia doing what's it do to keep you kids and wife's and husband safe.

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

    I am willing to sacrifice a morsel of our "Law and Order" society to let the CIA and it's Agents do what they deem necessary to keep us all safe. These individuals do not get any glory other than a star placed on the wall inside CIA HQ if they die in the line of fire. Often their families are not even aware of the details of how or where they died. If my family can live relatively free and not worry everyday about whether the car they ride in, or the bus the ride on, or the mall they shop in will be blown up by terrorists because a CIA Agent waterboarded a scumbag who wants to kill us for no real reason I say let the water flow freely.
    If AG Holder has nothing better to do than try to intimidate someone then why doesn't he do his job and investigate ACORN and the Black Panthers that impeded and terrorized voters in PA.

    August 30, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. JB ATL

    Everyone know the Bush administration broke laws to protect America. They should just come clean instead of trying to defend their actions. I'm sure President Obama would pardon them and let it go. Honest is still the best policy, except when it comes to politics.

    August 30, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. DaveG

    For those who understand that torture is wrong and DOES NOT work, no explanation is necessary. For those who understand that torture is wrong and DOES NOT work, but pursue it anyway out of pride and arrogance, no explanation is necessary and a jail sentence should be pending.

    August 30, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Alan

    If the Republicans did everything according to the law then they have nothing to be concerned with. Cheney would say "investigate all you want". Instead the baby is doing way too much crying. If there is wrong doing then I hope they prosecute after the investigation is done.

    August 30, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. J in NJ

    Does this mean all the tax cheats in the Hussein administration will be going to jail?

    August 30, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Edwin

    I agree. Torture is usually a terrible thing, but if we have to torture Cheney in order to get the truth, so be it.

    August 30, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Stop and think

    If you hold those who were simply following orders accountable, What happens when you replace the person giving the orders. What happens If they are an honest law abiding worker for the people of this great country. What happens if this diminishes the powers of the organizations they run so severely that once we fix the big problem, which is the person(s) running them, that an honest person in this position no longer has the power to do with the orginizations what they were orginally intended to do. If that becomes the case holding these employees accountable will have done more harm than good. punishing these people will not make their "victims" un victomized, we need to assure it doesnt happen in the future by focusing on who the are the correct people to run it in the future not who were the incorrect people to be running it in the past. Because thats all we can change is the future.

    August 30, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. pam Eugene OR

    This investigation must move forward with nothing held back. Bush/Cheney did so much damage to the US image and they need to pay for that. I do agree that it should not be some low level CIA agent. It should be from the top where illegal permission was given to break our own laws.

    August 30, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Hendrik

    Let the chips fall where they may. If Cheney was right, it will come out. If he wasn't, a jury of his peers he should face.
    We have faced this type of situation before and have come out very well despite the airing of our laundry. We all like a breath of fresh air.

    August 30, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. AKoslik

    Sure, the CIA has a long history of being too afraid to do anything...

    Give me a break.

    August 30, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. Margaret

    If no one is above the law, then how is it that Chairman Rangel is still in charge of one of the most powerful committees in Congress? How is it that Members of Congress get away with not paying their taxes? How is it that healthcare legislation does not apply to Congress?

    Clean your own house, Sen. Cantwell. The people have no respect for one of the most corrupt governments in the history of this country.

    August 30, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Sheila, WA

    Dang Dick, where have you been those LONG 8 years? I NEVER heard you speak or care about anything prior! Your guilty is becoming MOST obvious every time you think you now must speak to cover your evil ways and crazed mind! YOU Mr. Cheney KNOW a REAL investigation will have you behind bars for the rest of your life! You were so busy with your illegal craftings and belief's that you are so much smarter than everyone else but here's the REAL Blue's Clue news for you: The majority of American's are not stupid little mister!

    August 30, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. B

    No Mr. Hatch, it has not gone far enough! It will eventually lead to the top and that is where it should go because that is where it started Mr Hatch!
    It will show the last administration the Most corrupt in our history. It will show that it was even more so than the obscene Nixon years.

    August 30, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. RR

    what about Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, John Murtha...

    August 30, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Tokyoto

    Nobody is above the law; unless you have a lot of money and power!

    August 30, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Wynter

    This is simply an investigation into the CIA's interrogation practices. It is way overdue as it should have been done back in Alberto's timeframe.

    Let the light of Justice shine if you have nothing to hide...

    August 30, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Albo58

    Foolish libs like Sen. Cantwell would love nothing more than to have show trials in order to politically attack current and past Republican leaders and this sham and weakening of our country's defense is all too obvious! I have to laugh when these self-serving, self-righteous clowns speak about "no one being above the law" and they close ranks immediately around crooks like Rangel, Murtha, Daschle, etc when their crimes are published by others. Furthermore, it may have escaped the notice of these far left loons, but we have a seveere economic problem right now and THAT's where their primary focus should be...PERIOD!

    August 30, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Doraine Gordon

    It isn't the CIA who is afraid of an investigation by Holder. They have repeatedly said they disagreed with alot of the stuff they were ordered to do but did it anyway in order to keep their jobs. The CIA was just as sick of Bush's My Way Or The Highway as everyone else. Look at all the Generals who opposed Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. If they got too loud in opposing his tactics they were forced to resign. So I am very proud of this Administration for looking into all of this. If the Republicans are hollering about it, it is because they are all so guilty of sweeping everything under the rug. God Bless Holder!

    August 30, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. kman821

    As a citizen of Washington State ... THANK YOU, Ms. Cantwell.

    It is not the job of the POTUS to persue criminal wrong doing ... that rests solely with Eric Holder as our Attorney General ...and I belive he WILL DO the right thing.

    I only hope Cheney's heart holds out long enough for the evil and retched man he is to be tried, sentenced and still serve a little time in prison before going straight to hell.

    August 30, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. tonyt

    "GOP senator's Lies about Dems health care proposals"!

    or GOP senator blasts Dems health care proposals with lies!

    The Party of No Ideas GOP
    !

    August 30, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Graham

    This investigation is entirely political, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. There were plenty of laws which were broken, and those responsible should be brought to justice, even if it does go all the way up the chain to the president. The democrats need to stop pretending they care more about this country than their own political gain, and the republicans need to stop pretending they aren't a bunch of criminals. If this really were a legitimate investigation, most of congress would end up in prison by the end of it. It's a very sad thing that it won't ever go that far, but as long as it takes car of some of the scumbags in our government, past or present, I'm still fine with it.

    August 30, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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