Seeking an Inquiry on Torture

Posted February 12, 2008 at 6:42pm

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Tuesday called on the Department of Justice’s inspector general to launch an investigation into the role DOJ officials have played in authorizing the use of waterboarding during interrogations.

[IMGCAP(1)]At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday reiterated that President Bush’s nomination of Steven Bradbury to become an assistant attorney general was dead in the Senate.

“There will never be any movement” on Bradbury, Reid said, adding that “Bradbury will never be approved by the Democrats. Too many people think that he shouldn’t be approved.”

Bradbury’s nomination has run into opposition over his role in setting the Bush administration’s policies on torture, including the potential use of waterboarding.

In a letter to the IG, Durbin and Whitehouse call for an investigation of “certain Justice Department officials, [who] operating behind a veil of secrecy, concluded that the use of waterboarding is lawful. We believe it is appropriate for you to investigate the conduct of these Justice Department officials. As you know, a similar investigation is underway regarding Justice Department officials who advised the National Security Agency that its warrantless surveillance program is lawful.”

Durbin and Whitehouse note that Attorney General Michael Mukasey has thus far refused to conduct his own inquiry into the matter, which is why they have called on the IG.

— John Stanton