August 30th, 2009
03:22 PM ET
9 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. alex

    i always support obama foreign policy, but he must be careful .the terrorists must face punishment, they deserve it, obama ,u have think how u can bring about solution for health care reform, instead of seeking to weaken national security, don't feel soory for the terrorists

    August 30, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Paul

    The sad part is that people like Dick Cheney absolutely think that there are certain people who are above the law - himself included. The Neocons have a very bizarre view of themselves and their place in history. They are convinced down to the last one of them that they are somehow above the rest of humanity in intelligence and especially the will to use power. The latter is in no doubt which is more than I can say about the former. No manner of crime or failure is enough to convince this crowd that they are mortal. Perhaps prosecutions would help them see the light.

    August 30, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. bobby b

    Some people ARE above the law.
    Michael Jackson (dope smoking pedofile)
    Ted Kennedy (drunk driving murderer)
    Bill Clinton (cigar in fat chic in oval office).
    Priests (raping little boys)
    It is very clear, if you have power and money – you are above the law.
    The rest of you peasants just need to deal with it.

    August 30, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Catana L Barnes

    The entire Bush Administration ARE MURDERERS and must be punished!!!
    Anybody that thinks what these people did was justifiable needs to have ALL of the torture techniques done to them!!!
    These people, using the term loosely, ARE the BIGGEST COWARDS on the planet!!!
    Funny how they refuse to face The American Public...are they SCARED?
    If we never took the time to 'look back' then there wouldn't be anybody in the prison system as I am sure they can justify why they did whatever they did to be sent to prison as well!!!
    OH!, That's Right, Prison is for everyone that isn't ONE OF THEM!!!

    August 30, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Jill-IN

    I doubt that CIA professionals are afraid to do their jobs. It would be a more worthwhile exercise to invite retired CIA on the program and detail what their purpose and jobs are and how that measures up against the past few years of interrogation activity. Since Hatch and Cantwell have not worked deep inside this organization, I don't think there opinions are any more valuable than ours.

    August 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. HerbG - New Jersey

    I was downtown on 9/11,and knew some people who died that day. So far as I'm concerned, there are no constitutional rights for terrorists. For all you who disagree, go call a mother, or father, or son, or daughter of someone lost that horrible day. if you weren't there, you can't possibly feel the horror of that morning. By the way, nobodu can convince me that this isn't political. All the Bush haters out there want to see him brought to justice. if you lost a family member, you'd want to do much worse to those creeps.

    August 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. matthew

    Laws were undoubtedly broken. EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOWS THIS. We are a nation of laws and it is inexcusable to allow torture to go unpunished. The most significant impact of our CIA torture techniques has not been the information we have gained in these "interrogation" sessions, but that we have converted a number of formerly moderate Muslims into militants who view the USA as evil and are willing to wage war against us and our allies.

    We need to show the world that we are not complete hypocrites.

    Those who commit crimes need to be punished.

    If we allow this to slide, we are leaving a bigger mess for later generations.

    August 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. former enlisted

    Cheney makes nixon look honest. Sick of we need to look forward crap, That is like saying yea officer i did rob that bank but that was a whole month ago!

    August 30, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Bob

    The hypocrisy of the left is showing.

    Worse than hypocrisy is that BHO order the continuation of the CIA investigation and the dismissal of the Richardson investigation in order to take the press off the stink of his "single payer option".

    Politics as usual? Not quite, this is "Chicago style".

    August 30, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Big Bear

    "... doesn't uphold the American way. Which American way? The one the Democrats support which is to stop what they call torture so that they can make the neighbors across the big pond think better of us; or the one that Republicans have proven works, which is why we were not attacked for eight years.

    August 30, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Philippe

    I have a question for the dems and their followers : If the new interrogation team tell president Obama that they capture a terrorist suspect who is planning an attack against america. They need informations about this attack and they can obtain it after one day with traditional intrrogation techniques or after few hours with harsh interrogation techniques. What will Obama do ?

    August 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. darthbarney

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

    No, we're trying to make it hard for them to do anything ILLEGAL! If they can't follow the laws embedded in the constitution, the one thing they have all taken an oath to protect and defend, then they sure as hell shouldn't be in the CIA or for that matter pass a security check clearance.

    August 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. former enlisted

    If the rep administration had any accountability the investigation would have taken place 8 years ago, of course the dems should do it now. If not them who?

    August 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. yankee

    the Democarts need to investigate they own but you can,t convict for stupid

    August 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Jacob

    In response to SA's comment, "I guess no laws were broken on 9/11?":

    The fact that laws were broken on 9/11 is immaterial. It does not justify the CIA breaking laws. Vengeance may be tempting, but it is illegal.

    August 30, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. doestitmatter

    I can only hope that if another terrorist attack occurs on our soil it will only affect liberals that agree with the current administration on this issue. The current leader has more to hide (birth certificate, school records, medical records, past relationships with communists and known terrorists) and you bleeding heart liberals want to investigate policies that have kept us safe on our soil for the last 8 years. Sleep well you ignorant, egotistical moronic hypocrites. I fully expect the moderators to flag this post because the media is not interested in the truth only their fictional fantasy world they live in.

    August 30, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. lis

    crook dems always above the law..libtard just lier

    August 30, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. No one is above the law?

    Evidently Charlie Rangel is.....

    August 30, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. matt

    No one is above the law except Obama because hes our messiah

    August 30, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. If Al Qaeda was holding your family hostage....

    you'd be begging for the CIA to get them back any way they could....

    Don't you see how phoney and hypocritical you are????

    August 30, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Farrell in Houston

    An investigation should not make it difficult for anyone to do their job as long as they are doing their job within the law. Every day citizens are investigated for wrong doings, face trial and if found guilty fined and or sent to prison. There are always bad apples in every bunch regardless of who they are and Dick Cheney is indeed a bad apple.

    August 30, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. Grandma of Fourteen

    Being willing to punish our own "evil doers", no matter who they are, is the only way to restore trust in America, both at home and abroad. We must return to protecting the rule of law above all else. That former shining light is flickering dangerously. For the sake of my grandkids, please don't let it go out.

    August 30, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Ivan Nino

    With this kind of policy and mentality among American people and government, we will loose the war!

    August 30, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. H.Church

    If they are going to investigate the CIA for doing their job and saving American lives, and if Sen. Cantwell agrees that no one is above the law, then Geitner and all the tax cheats in Washington need to be investigated and put in jail with the rest of them. With any luck they will be in the same cell as the CIA specialists! At least they are there on honorable terms, but deceived and betrayed by our messed up system!! I wonder if any of these politicians would change their tune if it were their family members killed by a terrorists!

    August 30, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Stuart

    I assume conservatives are comfortable with their homegrown terrorists like McVeigh, abortion clinic bombers, and gun-toting crybabies who actively threaten our President, getting waterboarded to obtain information about their associates ... or are they only comfortable with minorities being tortured?

    August 30, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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