Conyers, Nadler Ask Holder to Name Counsel on Torture

Posted April 28, 2009 at 4:52pm

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) along with other Democrats on his committee are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special counsel to investigate and prosecute torture of detainees by the Bush administration.

Conyers and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, argued in a letter Tuesday that the United States is obligated to investigate torture.

Nadler said in an interview that after the disclosure of the “torture memos— there is no longer any argument that torture did not occur under Bush’s tenure, and that triggers the need to investigate and prosecute crimes. President Barack Obama released the memos, which laid out the harsh interrogation techniques used by the previous administration against terrorist detainees.

Nadler added that the Justice Department should avoid a conflict of interest by naming a special counsel, saying that one avenue of investigation would involve the role of lawyers at the Justice Department.

“There is a very bright line,— Nadler said. “They can’t investigate themselves.—

Nadler met with Holder last week to let him know the request would be forthcoming, and said Holder agreed to consider it.