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. Shelly

    We ARE a nation of laws.....that reflects in our image worldwide as a civilized and progressive country. If we do not follow laws we are no better then the 'corruption-rampant' countries in the world.

    August 30, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. nurse

    Unless it's a dem and helps them politicaly

    August 30, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Tom Dunn

    It is a tenuous job to protect the American people. It is very easy to second-guess.
    Tom Dunn

    August 30, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Jorge

    No one above the law is not new, it's clearly that those same words were spoken by president Obama, but his actions tend to state otherwise. The premise that if the justice department or the president that by the way, promised to uphold the Constitution will cause morality problems in the CIA is baloney. I heard that the ones that refrain from committing war crimes would be the ones that suffer most and that double hypocrisy will do more to make the CIA just another "rogue" agency like those in other totalitarian regimes to make of this country more a tyranny than a democracy. We need to look backwards to "go forward". We need to punish those that broke the law and used the Constitution as toilet paper or America will never be the same again.

    August 30, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. the southern progressive

    if republicans think it okay to torture suspected terrorists, then i would like to report some suspected terrorists.. who just happen to be republicans. i think dick cheney and george bush know something that will do america harm, and the information must be obtained at any costs... i mean, torture is not bad right?

    August 30, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. John Marshall

    Can you imagine this dithering idiot saying investigate the CIA for trying to get info if it was HIS family that got blown to bloody rags ? I seriously doubt it, this is politics pure and simple

    August 30, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. California Mountain Man

    If "nobody is above the law", then I expect they'll be announcing immediate criminal charges for tax evasion against Charlie Rangel?

    August 30, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. CNN = Moveon.org

    The problem with this investigation is that every Democrat is assuming that something was done illegal. In other words, they are saying guilty already before the investigation, in the hopes that they will be right. You would have to be a complete moron to say this is anything but political.

    August 30, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. HJA

    Lollipops for Terrorists!

    Careful Pops. Your Swastika is showing. If we had no intention of following treaties, we should not sign them. We are no different than anyone else.
    R,N.C.
    Republican
    Nazis
    Clones
    There's a slogan for you!

    August 30, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Longhorn who speaks the truth.

    This is ridiculous investigating the CIA. The CIA is our first line of defense against our enemies. Do not tie their hands. Looks like America would learn by now. Tying the Soldiers hands and calling wars like Korea and Vietnam police action not to fire unless fired upon. If fired upon it is too late to fire back. Grow up you ignorant politicians.

    August 30, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. pooldog

    'They' are on the side of the constitution, the american people and the ideals that we are supposed to be about. The only people the 'traitorous Democrat scum' are betraying are those republicans willing to sell us ALL out in their greedy grab for power......there needs to be accountability and it needs to start here and now.

    August 30, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Mix

    Know anyone that has been Navy SEAL training? Know anyone that has been part of a military aircrew and has been through survival training? These folks go through far more than these so called "torture victims". This is nothing more than a politically motivated farce. Or, more likely, the people pushing this are just totally out of touch with reality.

    August 30, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. muaythai

    The intelligence agencies of our country saved many American lives by gaining valuable information on what these radical islamic lunatics were planning. Get real and investigate why their are no jobs.

    August 30, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. the southern progressive

    we must find out if the iraq war is a war based on lie, making Americans civilians more hated and succeptable to danger, we must torture the former administration to find out the truth, since they refuse to give us the answers we the American people are demanding, so we must make them answer.. dont forget, more Americans have died in Iraq than on September 11, 2001. because they were terrorized into fear my the the former administration.. torture is not bad, if truth comes of it.. right?

    August 30, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Louise in CA

    See Cheney sling mud! See the elephants trumpet their horror! See the spectacle of back-stabbing partisanship! See the Republicans block healthcare! See the former Vice-President do what he does best! Whine, lie, and complain because others use the same tricks he used for the past eight years! Whine, Cheney, whine!

    August 30, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Donald. Cameron, NC

    Is the a country that abides by the laws it passes and treaties it signs involving international laws, or one where political expediency transcends this democratic ideal?
    Whatever happened to our elected representatives sworn oath to uphold the Constitutuion, againest ALL enemies, domestic and foreign.
    Ignorance of the law or just following orders wasn't accepted as a valid exuse/defense by those perpetrating war crimes during WWII at the Nurnberg trials. What's the difference here?
    Doesn't anyone accept accountability and responsibility for their actions? Its obvious none of them had the moral courage to disobey these unlawful orders from their superiors.

    August 30, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. George Washington

    of course, the Dem is correct, so that would be a good reason, for them to have each congress pay their taxes correctly, before being appointed to the Cabinet shows that they have not been. good suggestiong Dem, no one is above the law.

    August 30, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. doc

    so, mr. cantwell, no one is above the law? unless of course your name is ted kennedy and you kill some poor innocent young lady by driving off a bridge in a drunken stupor and then run and hide. then of course your above the law, right mr. cantwell?

    August 30, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Tim

    And no democrat is above political posturing.

    August 30, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. elle

    I'm not sure i really understand why an investigation is being planned. What happened to our prisoners of war during any previous wars/battles? And what, I'm sure, has the US done in all those prev was? I gues it's perfectly ok to murder thousands of people and then just expect to "question" the terrosits.

    August 30, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Tim

    Well, except tax cheat Geithner that is. Oh, and all the other tax cheats in Obama's admin. Oh, and Richard Armitage, who outed Valerie Plame. Oh, and all of those who illegally contributed to Obama's campaign. And the Obama officials who designed the website to subvert campaign finance laws.

    August 30, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Tom

    Cantwell is right, and Hatch is wrong. The CIA *ought* to be afraid to do certain things, and those things include torture. Remember that the Cheney, er, Bush administration had agents and soldiers torturing people who had received no trial, and many of them turned out to be innocent. Is that how you would like to be treated if you were an innocent who was captured by another country's invading forces and put away in some hole-in-the-wall prison cell?

    August 30, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Laura

    "No one is above the law"??? Who is she kidding? Just look at the cabinet and obama's appointees to see who hasn't broken the law. If I had done any of the things they have, I would be in big trouble with the law. The hypocrisy is ripe!

    August 30, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. muaythai

    Too many short memories about what happened on 9/11 and why our country was not prepared for the attacks. If we leave it up to the liberal do-gooders and their so-called high morals, we may see more Americans die. We are at war and what part about that don't you understand. As a vietnam vet, I saw many of you head to Canada.

    August 30, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Michael in SC

    I agree with the southern progressive.
    I am sure Dick Cheney knows alot about 9/11 and all the way back to Vietnam that the publice needs to know. Lets not forget when he was so friendly with Saddam during the Reagan era and when WMD where delivered by the US government to Saddam.
    Theres alot of important information to be obtained from Cheney thru torture.
    Can I get a copy of the movies?

    August 30, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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