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GOP Senators Warn Interrogators Cannot Be Accountable To The Law

Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that he will probably follow the recommendation of officials in the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the systematic use of torture by the Bush Administration. In response, nine Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to holder warning that he must not begin such an investigation.

Why would the Republicans demand the investigation be blocked? Lack of evidence? No, there’s plenty of evidence.

The senators explained, “There is little doubt that further investigations and potential prosecutions of CIA officials will chill future intelligence activities. The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift. Indeed, there is a substantial risk that the mere prospect of criminal liability for terrorist interrogations is already impeding our intelligence efforts, as demonstrated from the fact that CIA officials increasingly feel compelled to obtain legal defense insurance.”

These senators are warning that CIA interrogators will think twice about the interrogation techniques they use if their criminal use of torture is investigated. What makes them think that’s a bad thing?

Documents recently released reveal that CIA interrogators routinely broke American law, waterboarding, using guns and power drills, slamming prisoners’ heads against walls, and even threatening to kill prisoners’ children. All this, the documents revealed, failed to provide any information that gave extra protection to the American people. It was brutality for the sake of brutality.

So, will investigations of criminally brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA lead officials in the agency to think twice before they start to break the law? I hope so. CIA interrogators have no reason to get legal defense insurance unless they are engaging in torture and other illegal forms of extreme interrogation.

The Republican senators who wrote to Eric Holder suggest that CIA interrogators ought to be able to engage in torture and other forms of brutality, breaking the law, without worrying about being held accountable. They propose that the CIA be allowed to operate as a criminal organization that no one has the power to restrain.

I welcome any legal investigation that can help to “chill” this agenda.

The nine senators that signed this letter are:

Jon Kyl
Christopher Bond
Jeff Sessions
Saxby Chambliss
John Cornyn
Tom Coburn
Orrin Hatch
Charles Grassley
Richard Burr

15 thoughts on “GOP Senators Warn Interrogators Cannot Be Accountable To The Law”

  1. qs says:

    Best argument is that the military already held people accountable on their end so why shouldn’t the CIA.

  2. qs says:

    Cheney endorses the idea of CIA agents going beyond the legal authorizations that low level justice department lawyer John Yoo scratched on a napkin and made law. Hence he thinks there are no rules, but if Yoo can make some laws up why can’t Agent Whoever make some laws on the fly?

  3. ReMarker says:

    qs, you are correct!!!

    Your question reflects exactly WHY it is extremely important to make good choices when deciding who we give our votes to. Obviously the GOP doesn’t feel our Constitution and laws are valuable enough to follow.

    1. qs says:

      Democrats support taxes and spending though, and they also have the same foreign policy but with a different style kinda of in the way they go about it.

      That’s why I vote Constitution or Libertarian Party normally although in the housesenate races, I vote republican just because I feel compelled to most of the time so we get at least some sanity.

  4. Rowan says:

    “I vote republican just because I feel compelled to most of the time so we get at least some sanity.”

    Do you seriously claim that Republicans DON’T support taxes and spending?

    Would you rather eject the Constitution than pay taxes?

  5. qs says:

    Hey Jim,

    I’ve been meaning to ask you a question.

    Do you think waterboarding is illegal? (I know you oppose it but is it illegal?)

    I saw that Ted Kennedy tagged on an amendment to the 2006 military commissions act, and it was defeated.

    Maybe Holder is not going forward with any sort of prosecution because he thinks there is no legal weight there?

    1. Jim says:

      Yes, clearly, under 18 USC 2340.

      1. qs says:


        But if 53 senators voted to stop the Kennedy amendment to ban waterboarding…isn’t it like…well it’s not actually illegal.

        Or perhaps they think it’s just a harsh interrogation and not actual torture.

        Well regardless, it seems like Holder may not have a the case he wants or needs. I’m not advocated this, but that just seems like what is going to me.

      2. qs says:

        O ya,

        I wanted to run another thing by you. Do you think that Clinton engaged in extraordinary rendition too?

        1. Jim says:

          I can’t recall. What do you know?

          1. qs says:


            But people always tell me that Clinton did it, and I don’t really believe them. I figured you would know heh.

            Hey, there is a “too hot to handle” on the American Conservative right now. Antiwar radio did a follow up interview on it also today. Also on Pat Buchanan’s website he has two more stories about it with a video documentary explaining it.

            I think AC has the original interview with her itself.

            Check it out.

          2. Jim says:

            Well, a quick google search of “clinton extraordinary rendition” leads to this Frontline page. I trust Frontline. The PBS show, not the tick and flea treatment.

  6. qs says:

    “too hot to handle” story

    1. ReMarker says:

      How to handle people that will blow up themselves and others or decapitate people is not an easy problem to solve.

      What is easy to know is torture is not the solution.

      People that kill people for NO good reason MUST be stopped, somehow. The only good reason to kill anyone is because they are killing people. Well, maybe those that sexually abuse young people, would qualify too.

      Are there any suggestions for dealing with these kinds of crazies under America’s laws, while they are out of jail (and among us) on bond? THAT is what rendition does.

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