House speaker claims CIA misled Congress on torture
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said May 14 that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) misled Congress about the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques during the Bush administration. Pelosi, the former top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that CIA officials had explicitly said that they were not using the controversial waterboarding technique. Pelosi did concede that she had learned in 2003 that harsh techniques were being employed but defended her decision not to speak up over security concerns. Pelosi renewed calls for an independent "truth commission" to investigate alleged abuses committed during the Bush administration.
On May 13, the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts held the first hearing on whether Bush administration interrogation techniques constituted torture. The recent release of four CIA interrogation memos has renewed calls for the criminal prosecution of the memos' authors. Last month, UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak said that the US must prosecute DoJ lawyers who drafted the memos. (Jurist, May 14)
Former head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and federal judge Jay Bybee, who signed off on memos detailing the legal rationale for enhanced interrogation techniques, has declined an invitation to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said May 13. Leahy made the announcement during a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts on whether Bush administration interrogation techniques constituted torture. (Jurist, May 14)
See our last post on the torture scandal.