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Friday, April 24, 2009

Holder denies interrogation memos release was selective
Christian Ehret at 9:14 AM ET

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] on Thursday testified [webcast] in front of a House Appropriations subcommittee [official website] that he is willing to release as much information as possible in regards to interrogation techniques used on Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees. Holder said that the recent release of four CIA interrogation memos [JURIST report] was not being done selectively to advance a political agenda. Former vice president Dick Cheney had urged Holder [AP report] to release other memos that would reveal the information that was gained by the approved interrogation techniques. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) [official website] echoed [statement] Cheney's request by asking if the "administration is suppressing additional memos that demonstrate the effectiveness of interrogation techniques as well as document Bush administration efforts to correct problems." Holder responded to the requests by stating that he was unaware of the other memos and that other agencies may have control over them. Holder was also questioned about the possible impending charges [JURIST report] against the officials who authored the memos. He responded by stating that, while he would not permit the "criminalization of policy differences," it was his duty to enforce the law against wrongdoers.

On Wednesday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] released a report [JURIST report] indicating that former attorney general John Ashcroft and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques in 2002. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama said that he was open the possibility of prosecuting [transcript] those who authorized harsh interrogation techniques, but that the decision would be up to Holder. Obama had previously said that he would not pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators [statement], a pledge which drew sharp international criticism [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) [official website] released a final version of a report [JURIST report] calling on current Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether any criminal laws were violated. In March, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) also called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Bush administration policies through the formation of a "truth commission."






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