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Panetta Hearing: Don’t Prosecute CIA Interrogators for Torture

As expected, CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta says that he doesn’t think anyone in CIA should be prosecuted for torturing detainees since they were told by

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 05, 2009

As expected, CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta says that he doesn’t think anyone in CIA should be prosecuted for torturing detainees since they were told by the Bush administration’s legal experts that such actions were legal. “Waterboarding is torture and it’s wrong,” he told Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich). “Those individuals operated pursuant to a legal opinion… [and they] ought not to be prosecuted or investigated, [since] they acted pursuant to the law as it was presented by the attorney general.”

What about a Senate intelligence committee inquiry into the history of torture in the Bush administration? “This is the appropriate committee to look at that history … if we find that there were those who deliberately violated the law — deliberately violated the law — deliberately took action, above and beyond the standards presented to them, then in those limited cases there should be prosecutions.”

Would he support the Justice Department releasing the so-called Second Bybee Memo, written in 2002 to specifically delineate what interrogation techniques would be legal for CIA to use? “I would certainly do everything possible to cooperate with this committee in reviewing this committee … I’d like the opportunity to review that document, understand what’s in it.” Not the answer Levin wanted.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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