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. zorrod

    "No one above the law ..." Nonsense! You couldn't touch my Bro' Chuck Rangel with a silver bullet!!!...

    August 30, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Not amused

    It offends me that Bush/Cheney authorized acts so heinous that release of photos depicting the acts would be a national security risk. It doesn't suprise me though, given the fact that the last three adminstrations to break the law have been Republican, Nixon, Reagan, and now Bush II. Doesn't say much for traditional values does it?

    August 30, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Byron in Minneapolis

    If there's nothing to fear, no crime was committed, and the CIA and Cheney did nothing wrong, then why worry about the investigation?
    Those who are innocent jump at the chance to defend themselves and prove their innocence. The GUILTY seek to avoid a trial altogether.

    August 30, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. bella

    That's good news! This Administration respects the law. Now rewind your tape back to the Bush Administration!! "Anyone can get by with anything, including breaking the law"! Just use "Evangelistic conservatives" to get this job done! And they did!! How do you spell C H E N E Y?? How do you spell "B U S H"! And by the way, Bush certainly didn't look like he was very comfortable in the setting he was placed in yesterday - Kennedy's funeral!!

    August 30, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Maureen - NC

    No one is above the law? How about those members of congress who still have not paid their taxes? Or those who out of the blue find 100's of thousands if not millions that they "Oops" forgot to include!!

    The only people she is referring to are those not currently holding office under our current administration.

    August 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. larry

    Since the Dems won't say thank you to the CIA and all the leaders under Bush who kept the US from any repeat of 9/11, I will.

    August 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. John in Tampa

    I do not enjoy this process but to me it seems necessary. Once we have established what happened, then we can decide if (1) the law involved was reasonable and feasible, and (2) if there should be any punishment involved. I myself might be persuaded in any direction on this one, but first I need the truth.

    August 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Jane

    I think maybe some of congress and the elected officials should remember they are not above the law and pay their taxes, not hire illegals at piss poor wages to raise their children, and obey they law like they expect everyone else too. It also is wrong when the gov decides that it is not beneficial to their causes when they do not bring charges against crooks like NM Gov Bill Richardson.

    August 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Boston Guy

    Dick doesn't want the investigation because it will show that he and Bush were the worst terrorist of them all. The Bush administration should all be held accountable but that will never happen. They will never be able to wash the blood shed from their hands.

    August 30, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    That's strange. Those Puerto Rican terrorists that Holder got clemency for while in the Clinton Justice Department sure seemed to be above the law. I guess the law only pertains to those who love America.....not those who hate it.

    GOD BLESS THE CIA. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST. WE'LL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW HOW MANY AMERICAN LIVES YOU SAVED IN THE YEARS FOLLOWING 9-11.

    August 30, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. V. Clausewitz

    This wouldn't be the same Maria Cantwell that made her fortune working for RealJukebox while they were still using a spyware to track unsuspecting users' listening patterns and download history, would it? Does she have some nerve.

    August 30, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Howard

    NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW? Does that include Barrack Obama, who continually disregards the constitution, which is supposedly the highest law in the land. Does that include Nancy Pelosi, who uses her position to line the pockets of her husband and herself? Does that include Barney Frank, who has used his influence to avoid responsibility for Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac and America's economic meltdown? Apparently, some people are indeed above the law!!!

    August 30, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Truth Teller

    Ok, I'll agree that nobody is above the law. Let's procecute Rangle, Bill Richardson, ACORN, the New Black Panther Party, and ALL corrupt politicians. This selective enforcement of the law makes a mockery of the US Justice System as well as the Democratic Party.

    August 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. teacheng

    No one is above the law. That's right. This is not politics, it is law.

    Let me ask any apologists for the former administration on here a question – if they did nothing wrong then why fear the investigation? You are making two arguments at once that contradict each other.

    August 30, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Self-interest-first

    Tom Ridge is an Idiot who is not able to find his way to the bathroom
    in the middle of the night with the lights on. He is compromising the
    NATIONAL SECURITY so he can sell his most likey boring book by
    creating a controversy..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 30, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. People often project onto others what they see in the mirror .......

    It's Dick Ceheney who's made this political from the very start by opening his mouth. And each time Dick Cheney opens his mouth; he intiates more investigation against himself, like a fool. It started with the accusation President Obama made the country less safe.....if the President wasn't breaking laws like Cheney did. what Mr. cheney doesn't understand is; nobody is above the law.

    August 30, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. People often project onto others what they see in the mirror .......

    It's Dick Cheney who's made this political from the very start by opening his mouth. And each time Dick Cheney opens his mouth; he intiates more investigation against himself, like a fool. It started with the accusation President Obama made the country less safe.....if the President wasn't breaking laws like Cheney did. what Mr. cheney doesn't understand is; nobody is above the law.

    August 30, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Frank

    Let's investigate Sandy (the Burglar ) Burger. Let's investigate Erick Holder for the Clinton Library "Contributions" that led to the pardon of one of America's tax cheats.

    August 30, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Johnny DC

    This isn't about Cheney and/or Bush, you Liberal morons. This is about investigating CIA analysts and employees who did their job: following orders, protecting our lives.

    Why do Liberals always change the argument to something that better suits their side?

    August 30, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Palm hair TCM

    I think Cheney had the Kennedys killed.

    August 30, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Barbara

    Worth repeating: "No one is above the law"; especially those at the TOP! While I do not like seeing the country drawn into such a long, drawn out battle with so much else on our plate-it is no excuse to turn our backs in upholding the Laws of OUR land!

    August 30, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Keith in Austin

    Utterly disgusting what depths the Democrats will stoop to for vengeance against the former Administration that they hate so much all for their political gains! Absolutely deplorable. To all YOU liberal bleeding hearts that are spewing your elitist comments on here, please take a breath and realize that you are safe today because of the GOOD WORK conducted by the CIA! Trade your Birkenstocks in for a pair of sandels and join the Taliban if you hate America so much!

    August 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. ComradeObummer

    How come Bill Clinton was above the law when he lied under oath to a grand jury about his sexual relations with Monica?

    August 30, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. NYC REPUB

    I agree w/ Sen. Cantwell.

    August 30, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. Adam in Utah

    This investigation is not only perfectly legal but imperative. Torture is absolutely against everything that this country stands for. When we break our own moral code and lower our standards, regardless of the reason, we become no better than the terrorists we seek to stop.

    August 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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