Vern Buchanan Demands Obama Call Off Investigation of CIA Agents Accused of Torture
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With questions still remaining about the use of the role of torture and aggressive interrogation techniques used on captured terrorists to obtain the location of Osama bin Laden, Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan demanded that President Barack Obama call off a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of CIA agents accused of torture.
Buchanan sent a letter to the White House which was released on Tuesday.
“I am writing to urge you to end the Justice Department's investigation of CIA agents accused of using aggressive interrogation techniques years ago against terror suspects,” wrote Buchanan. “Regardless of your views on enhanced interrogation, the country is in no mood to prosecute its own intelligence officers following the successful mission against Osama bin Laden.”
Buchanan praised the president for his role in taking out bin Laden.
“You deserve tremendous credit for making the decision to go after bin Laden, and I applauded your comment afterward when you said, ‘We give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.’ The best way you can show that thanks is to end the Justice Department investigation and avoid sending the opposite message,” wrote Buchanan. “Furthermore, an investigation already was conducted during the Bush administration and concluded that the agents had not violated the law, making Attorney General Holder's decision to reopen the case even more perplexing.
“These enhanced techniques, no longer in use, were authorized by President Bush and approved by the Justice Department,” Buchanan insisted. “The relevant committees of Congress were briefed. No one is above the law, but prosecuting CIA officials for implementing a policy approved by the president and his Justice Department will send a chilling message to current intelligence officials. What assurances will they have that policies they are enforcing today will not lead to their prosecution in the future by a different administration?”
Under questioning from U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., during a hearing of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he did not know if enhanced interrogation played any role in taking out bin Laden.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted much the same thing at a media event on Wednesday.
“I can say with certainty that no single piece of information, with the exception of the address of the compound, was vital to this -- was singularly vital to this -- because we’re talking about tiny bits of information that were compiled by unbelievably competent professionals for nine and a half years,” said Carney when asked if enhanced interrogation techniques were used to obtain information needed to get bin Laden. “And it’s impossible to know if one piece of information came from one source and was corroborated in another way, if ... which thread held the cloth together ... with the exception of the location of the compound. And I would simply note that that has not been ... only been in existence for five or six years.
“The fact is, is that information was gathered from detainees -- we have multiple ways of gathering information ... from detainees, from different methods that we have of getting information,” added Carney. “The work that was done to put the case together was done primarily by analysts gathering tiny bits of information, putting it together and creating a body of work, if you will, that led to the finding of the location where Osama bin Laden was hiding.”
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