The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Conyers Renews Call for Investigation of Bush Administration Actions

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) today issued not one but two press releases responding to the latest batch of Bush-era Office of Legal

Thomas Dixon
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Apr 17, 2009

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) today issued not one but two press releases responding to the latest batch of Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel torture memos produced yesterday by the Justice Department in response to Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Conyers, of course, has been pressing for a “National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties,” composed of experts outside government “to investigate the broad range of policies of the Bush administration that were undertaken by the Bush administration under claims of unreviewable war powers.” Unlike Sen. Pat Leahy’s (D-Vt.) proposed “Commission of Inquiry,” the House bill, which has 27 cosponsors, would not provide immunity for officials who broke the law.

Today, Conyers praised President Obama, among others, for releasing the OLC memos yesterday, but emphasized that “critical questions remain.”

“As Americans digest the awful revelations in the Bush-era OLC opinions, our nation faces a critical choice – what will we do to ensure that abuses like those described in these memos are never again ordered by our leaders or justified by our lawyers?  To me, the answer is obvious.  We must have a full investigation of the circumstances under which these torture methods were created, approved, and implemented, preferably by an independent commission as I previously proposed.  And if our leaders are found to have violated the strict laws against torture, either by ordering these techniques without proper legal authority or by knowingly crafting legal fictions to justify the torture, they should be criminally prosecuted.  It is simply obvious that, if there is no accountability when wrongdoing is exposed, future violations will not be deterred.

Responding to an editorial in The Wall Street Journal today by former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey criticizing the release of the memos, Conyers said:

To take just one example, today two former Bush Administration officials again took to the papers to justify these practices by claiming that the interrogation of Abu Zubaydeh had been a clear success and had led to the disruption of terrorist plots. Yet just two weeks ago, former Bush Administration officials who monitored this interrogation told reporters that ‘not a single significant plot was foiled’ as a result. The American people deserve a non-partisan answer to such fundamental questions.

Conyers also joined the growing chorus of advocates who criticized the decision to grant immunity to CIA officials who were following orders authorized by the legal memos:

Finally, I do not understand the statements by the President and the Attorney General yesterday on the issue of potential prosecutions to address the senior officials and government attorneys who crafted and approved these programs.  Further, yesterday’s statements did not address the legality of any conduct that exceeded even the minimal boundaries established by the OLC memos, or any interrogations that occurred before legal guidance was provided.

The Obama administration has acknowledged that that’s true, as Marc Ambinder writes in The Atlantic. But given the wide berth offered the CIA by the OLC lawyers, as a practical matter, most CIA officers seem to be pretty much off the hook. Whether other Bush administration officials will get off as easily remains to be seen.

Thomas Dixon | He creates the ideal marketing experience by connecting online brands with their target audiences. He recently completed a research paper on consumer conversion and took part in a community project on SEO optimization. Thomas is working on his Bachelor of Arts in Communications and plans to intern in an online marketing department soon.


$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |