April 27th, 2009
07:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Leahy wants to probe 'chain of command' on torture

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/26/torture.debate/art.capitolday.gi.jpg caption="Some congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation into CIA interrogation techniques."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An independent commission is needed to determine who authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, a leading advocate of such a panel said Sunday.

"I want to know who was it who made the decisions that we will violate our own laws; we'll violate our own treaties; we will even violate our own Constitution," Sen. Patrick Leahy told CBS' "Face the Nation."

"That we don't know," said Leahy, D-Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We don't know what that chain of command was."

Former President George Bush repeatedly denied that his administration authorized the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. But a set of legal opinions released earlier in this month documented the Bush administration's justification for coercive interrogation techniques including waterboarding, which has been considered torture since the Spanish Inquisition.

A Senate Armed Services Committee report released last week showed that top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding as early as 2002. And in 2003, a meeting that included then-Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed the use of coercive tactics, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The releases have fueled calls for investigations of former administration and led to arguments from Bush's defenders - including Cheney - that the tactics produced information that saved American lives.

Leahy first proposed the idea of a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" in March. He said Sunday that he was not "out for some kind of vengeance," but added, "I'd like to read the page before we turn it."

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soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. John

    I support the CIA officials. They did nothing wrong in waterboarding al Qaeda suspects.

    When terrorists kill innocent is that not torture? All the people who are against the CIA, need to also know about the torture techniques of the terrorists.

    Terrorist torture children, women and even elderly by piercing into their eyes, dousing children in Acid. Have we forgotten the 8 years old boy from Iraq who was doused in Acid in Iraq and came to US for plastic surgery. Terrorist even dismember the limbs and torture people to death.

    Terrorists are ruthless, merciless and barbaric animals.

    There is a saying “to prevent a greater harm, it is ok to inflict a minor harm”.

    Waterboarding does not cause any disability on the person who is waterboared, but it helps to get information about the terrorists who can cause great harm, like the 9/11.

    April 27, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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