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Monday, December 17, 2007

CIA Torture Probe to Continue

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Peter Hoekstra, ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has expressed dismay with the Justice Department, insisting his panel will indeed probe into the destruction of CIA videotapes of secret interrogations, contrary to a request by the Justice Department to suspend any pending congressional inquiries.

"It's important for Congress to hold this community accountable," Hoekstra is quoted as saying. "The CIA did not tell us about the existence of these tapes. They did not tell us that they were going to be destroyed."

Others on the committee agree. "Congress and the Justice Department have conducted parallel inquiries many times in the past," stated California Rep. Jane Harman, the former ranking Democrat on the committee. "So I am worried. It smells like the cover-up of the cover-up."
Harman says she sent the CIA a letter in 2003 warning them not to destroy the tapes.

In a joint statement Friday, Hoekstra and committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes said they were "stunned that the Justice Department would move to block our investigation."

"The executive branch can't be trusted to oversee itself. There's a constitutional responsibility for them to keep Congress informed, and they have not."

"You've got a systemic problem here," Hoekstra said on "Fox News Sunday."
The leadership of U.S. intelligence agencies "is incompetent, it is arrogant" and has "become political,"

"I think that we're going to hold Mike Hayden accountable, because some of these misleading statements to Congress occurred on his watch," Hoekstra stated.

The videotapes, destroyed by the CIA in 2006, purport to have shown agents interrogating terror suspects using a banned torture technique known as ‘Waterboarding’ which simulates drowning, causing panic, brain damage and sometimes even death. In the past, the US has successfully prosecuted individuals accused of ‘Waterboarding’. The Bush administration however, has been less than forthright, denouncing ‘Waterboarding’ in one breath, and embracing it with the next. Bush’s behavior on this issue doesn’t really qualify as flip-flopping, however. It’s been more akin to the kid with his fingers crossed behind his back.

Ultimately, ‘Waterboarding’ is torture, and those who have been subjected to ‘Waterboarding’ have been done so in clear violation of US and international law. Once again, George W. Bush and his administration have gone to unparalleled lengths to circumvent justice and the law. This latest revelation and the prerequisite cover-up is business as usual, for an administration that knows no boundaries.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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