Friday, December 08, 2006

Message from Senator Leahy

listener passed along this e-mail from Senator Leahy for use as a front page post--Renee

Thank you for contacting me about torture and the Bush Administration. I appreciate hearing from you on these important issues.

Like you, and so many Vermonters, I have strongly objected to a number of President Bush's actions and policy objectives. The Bush Administration has repeatedly tried to bypass established legal procedures and courts. I have been deeply troubled by the President's efforts to expand presidential power, such as using a signing statement to try to create exemptions to laws prohibiting torture. This Administration seems to believe it is above the law, but it is not, and neither is any Administration.

I reject the view that torture can be a useful tool of interrogation. This ineffective and cruel practice runs afoul of our Constitution and laws, our international obligations, and basic standards of humanity. In March of 2005, I introduced a bill to prohibit the transfer of persons by the United States to countries where torture is known to be used or to where there are otherwise substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being tortured. Unfortunately, no action was taken on this bill during the 109th Congress.

Recent press reports have indicated that, after years of denials, the Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged the existence of documents detailing the Bush Administration's policies on detention and interrogation techniques, as well as the existence of detention facilities outside of the United States . I wrote to Attorney General Gonzales on November 16 to request these documents, but I have yet to receive a response.

Congress and all Americans deserve to know the truth about the Bush Administration' s interrogation policies and practices. Like all Americans, I am committed to preventing future acts of terrorism and bringing to justice those involved in terrorism. I believe we can achieve these goals without sacrificing this nation's centuries-old commitment to the rule of law and without abandoning the values that make thi s nation great. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the 110 th Congress, you can be sure that I will continue to hold this Administration to account.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please stay in touch.

Patrick Leahy

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