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. John W. Racine, WI

    Orrin Hatch, YOU have obviously gone way too far... isn't it time you just faded away...

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

    Under this Administration, Our country will never be safe. These terrorists are not your average run of the mill, thugs. They'll cut your head off in a heartbeat. We must stop playing to them. After 9/11, the rules had to change. We can't afford to be weak.

    August 30, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Dimslie

    "No one is above the law". Right. And, when the Republicans are back in power you can be sure the Dims will learn that lesson. Enjoy the sowing, idiots. You may enjoy the reaping less.

    August 30, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Doug Hackett

    if ur guilty ur "likely" going to object :)

    the cia is making it sound like this is their business! Hatch says "the CIA (agents) are afraid to do anything" (now) then it sounds likely that torture is going on every single day? is this all they do? get back to work cia and gather information the intelligent way :)

    August 30, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Wise Latina

    Good. Then this means that we will soon see Charlie Rangel in prison togs for blatant tax evasion, and Timmy Geithner and Tom Daschel will be right behind him. Too bad the statute of limitations has run out on President Obama and his admitted illegal marijuana and cocaine possession. Teddy K also escaped real justice in his manslaughter of Mary Jo, and so did Bubba in lying to a grand jury. We're also still waiting for Bill Richardson's indictment – let's get moving on that one, Ms. Cantwell.

    August 30, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Jenn, Philadelphia

    The people who conducted the interrogations did so under the guidance of the Justice Dept's advice that what they did was legal. Now, a new administration comes in and their Justice Dept has a different legal opinion. How are agents in the CIA supposed to do their jobs if they don't know what this administration allows the next one might not try and prosecute them for. They would more than likely not do anything and that does endanger our country's security.

    August 30, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. former enlisted

    No one would ignore a police officer torturing a suspect. Why turn the other cheek for someone who should display more moral aptitude on a much larger scale.

    August 30, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Kevin Schmidt

    The law breakers use the pathetic argument that they were "protecting the people". Thus once again using fear mongering as an excuse to take away our constitutional rights.

    Of course, if we tried to impeach and remove all in Congress who did not and still do not adhere to their oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic", there would be few left standing in the halls of Congress.

    We would also have an empty White House.

    August 30, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Cali Mike

    There is no dishonor in truth. We all pledge allegiance to the US and the flag. When one walks in righteousness, there is no need to fear.

    Investigate and prosecute anyone democrat, republican or otherwise who violated THEIR OATH to honor the America and our laws

    August 30, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. brandi bohannon

    yeah no one is above the law in the land of "liberty and justice for all" Bill Clinton almost went to prison, President Bushes daughter went to jail. No one is above the law in America, wait.....unless your an illegal immigrant according to Obamas immigration "reform"

    August 30, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. St. Louis Jake

    If you believe that the CIA should be able to obtain information "at any cost, and by whatever means necessary," then be aware of two things:

    1. If we use torture, then we are no better than the terrorists.

    2. If we use torture, then we are agreeing that it is O.K. to torture captured soldiers. That puts our troops at risk if they are captured.

    What part of “The Rule of Law” do you rightwing-nuts not understand?

    August 30, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Ken in Gainesville

    If Cheney and his Republican apologists think the ends justify the means, then there is no reason not to institute torture in the United States as well. So let's just drop the pretense of a civilized society, and go after "them" if we think "they" deserve it, or if property or a life might be saved by poking a few eyes out. Cheney is certainly the most dangerous man in recent American history to ever hold such high political office. He has no respect for human rights, the rule of law, or of anyone whom he views as the enemy (certainly that means most liberals and moderates). Thank fates he never will get the chance to impose his vision of society on the rest of us. He would certainly bring civil war.

    August 30, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Chad

    The fact that a significant portion of this country is pro-torture speaks volumes about where our values have headed. There are government investigations of all kinds at all times – it keeps the system honest. An investigation does not necessarily mean an indictment or a prosecution. Shouldn't we take a look and see whether the did in fact act in our best interests? Besides, letting this go would set a very bad precedence and allow future abuse to go unhindered.
    I also love how many think the government is going overboard when it tries to help people get health insurance (that's fascism!!! they cry), but the same people think it's ok to torture and detain people without trial (which really is fascism!).

    August 30, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. David H

    Excuse me? Half this "President's" cabinet actually IS above the law! Only "republicans" seem to fit this new liberal description. Okay, make our day, and put them on trial. November 2010-slaughterhouse day.

    August 30, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Sam

    Sure, what else do we expect from Cheney, he's trying to protect his behind.

    August 30, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Jeff

    Of course they are above the law. The laws, like taxes, are only for the little people. The only reason any of these people are ever prosecuted is if they anger enough of their colleagues. Then they are prosecuted as a show that they aren't "above the law".

    August 30, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Jerry Pecks

    Finally...maybe a little justice will be served. America DOES NOT TORTURE.

    August 30, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Scott G

    International interogation laws are there for a reason. No country is above the law. I hope they bring down everybody who broke the law.

    August 30, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Jerry Pecks

    Interesting how defensive Cheney and the republicans get about being investigated, especially if they have nothing to worry about. Hmmm...

    August 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Jack M Lowe

    Hey Cheney!!
    If you can't do the time – don't do the crime!

    August 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. walter

    when a nuke hits a american city, let see is it is the american way.. and where the fingers be pointing to. bunch of dumb sh..

    August 30, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Doug Harrod

    My response to items of torture and inappropriate treatment of prisoners by the U.S. has alsways been the same: What would we say and do as a government if those being tortured or treated inappropriately were American citizens and/ troops in foreign countries? Would we hold those doing this to ours accountable to the laws involved?

    August 30, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Jess

    "No one is above the law"? What about Ted Kennedy, who we've been canonizing over the past few days? He drove a young woman off a bridge, went off to leave her die, and didn't report the accident until the next morning. He never served a day in prison for that.

    August 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Richard L

    “No one is above the law."

    CHANGE has come to Washington.

    Any objections if we torture Cheney to find out what he has done to subvert our democracy?

    August 30, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    After World War II, the United States and its allies executed a large number of German and Japanese officers and officials who had ordered the same thing Dick Cheney ordered. I am definitely not saying that Cheney should be executed, but if by American standards those Germans and Japanese were war criminals, then Dick Cheney is one too.

    August 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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