Whitehouse: It’s Premature to Call Torture Memo Authors
I’ve been asking why the Senate Judiciary subcommittee holding the first congressional hearings on the torture memos this morning aren’t calling the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who wrote the memos, or their clients — the Bush administration’s most senior officials — to testify.
On Tuesday night, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told Keith Olbermann on MSNBC that calling those people now would be premature, given that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility report, which reportedly reveals how those memos were created, hasn’t been released yet.
“I think it would be premature to bring them in before the report is out,” said Whitehouse. And he added: “Once it’s out I’m confident that Sen. [Pat] Leahy” — the Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee,and has so far resisted holding hearings on the OLC lawyers’ conduct — “will either authorize hearings or conduct them himself.”
As I’ve reported before, Leahy has been under pressure to conduct just such hearings. Let’s see if the release of the OPR report — whenever that may be — will make the difference.