Government Reports Show Renewed Need for Commission of Inquiry

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jeanine Plant-Chirlin, 212-998-6289

Government Reports Show Renewed Need for Commission of Inquiry

NEW YORK - Today, the
C.I.A. is set to disclose previously unreleased portions of a 2004
inspector general's report.  The disclosure will provide fresh details
about the agency's interrogation program and abuses that took place
inside its secret prisons.

Meanwhile, the
Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility recommended
investigating prisoner abuse cases and Attorney General Eric Holder is
expected to announce that he will appoint a criminal prosecutor to
renew inquiries into nearly a dozen cases that the Bush Administration
declined to pursue.  

"These
developments are heartening moves in the direction of accountability. 
However, it is important that any investigation not focus solely on
interrogators who went beyond techniques the Justice Department
authorized," says Elizabeth Goitein, director of the Brennan Center's Liberty and National Security Project.
 "This is not about a 'few bad apples' that disregarded official
policy.  Official policy - approved at the highest levels of the U.S.
government - itself crossed the line.  What we need is a comprehensive,
independent inquiry into post-9/11 abuses in our counterterrorism
policies."

Among the first
to lead the charge, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
proposed such an independent commission of inquiry last summer to
explore the systemic failures of the institutional safeguards designed
to ensure adherence to the rule of law. Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.,
Brennan Center's Chief Counsel, testified before Congress on three occasions, calling for a non-partisan commission to investigate America's counterterrorism policies.

"An independent
commission of inquiry would be able to focus on the systemic problems
that allowed these policies to be implemented and to determine what
institutional reforms are necessary to prevent such abuses from
recurring," says Emily Berman, author of Executive Privilege: A Legislative Remedy
and Brennan Center attorney. "It could create a comprehensive picture
of what went wrong and what went right in our government's post-9/11
counterterrorism efforts."

The Brennan Center examined the Obama administration's response to a call for a commission of inquiry in Transparency in the First 100 Days: A Report Card.

For more
information or to speak with Elizabeth Goitein or Emily Berman, please
contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212-998-6289 or jeanine.plant-chirlin@nyu.edu.

###

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to redistricting reform, from access to the courts to presidential power in the fight against terrorism.

More in: