Senator Leahy Calls Hearing To Discuss Truth Commission To Investigate Bush Administration Abuses Of Power

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Matthew Allee or Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

Senator Leahy Calls Hearing To Discuss Truth Commission To Investigate Bush Administration Abuses Of Power

Congress And Executive Branch Need To Investigate Also, Says ACLU

WASHINGTON - On
the Senate floor today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, announced that his committee will hold a hearing
next week to discuss proceeding with a “truth commission” to
investigate the abuses of power of the Bush administration. Next week’s
hearing will likely focus on how an independent commission could be
constituted and the scope of the issues it would examine.

Leahy
first proposed the idea of a truth commission earlier this month at a
speech at Georgetown University. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers
(D-MI) has already introduced legislation, H.R. 104, to create a
similar commission.

The
ACLU is calling for a three-pronged approach to investigating abuses of
power under the Bush administration. In addition to the proposed
commission, a congressional select committee should be put in place to
investigate these matters. This committee would be able to commit the
necessary resources and have full subpoena authority to compel
individuals with knowledge to come forth. Also, the executive branch
should be examining whether prosecutions are appropriate through a
Department of Justice special prosecutor.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“The
ACLU welcomes Senator Leahy’s remarks today on the need to discover how
America abandoned the rule of law. But we also call on Congress to
establish a select committee and for the Justice Department to appoint
a special prosecutor. Both the Obama administration and Congress have
an obligation to conduct investigations in order to achieve
accountability and to ensure these egregious errors will not happen
again. In order for America to move forward and put torture and abuse
behind us, we must know how our nation was led astray.”

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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