Members of the House Judiciary Committee asked attorney general Eric Holder on Tuesday to appoint a special counsel to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute Bush administration officials involved in decisions that led to torture of detainees held in counter-terrorism efforts. In a letter to Holder, the congressmen write that memos released by the Obama administration last week confirmed that legal justifications for interrogation techniques like waterboarding came from high-up administration officials.
"During your confirmation hearings, you testified that waterboarding is torture," the letter says.
"This letter makes official our views on the necessary procedure in investigating those U.S. officials who allowed or actively instructed others to commit torture," said a statement from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who along with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) were the letter's principal authors. "Because the United States is bound by its own laws and by international treaty, we are obligated to investigate and, where necessary, to prosecute those who have violated the laws against committing torture - whether by ordering it or committing it directly."
The letter argues that there is "abundant, credible evidence of torture," that an internal justice department investigation would be hobbled by conflict-of-interest, and that the public would benefit from an investigation from an independent special counsel.
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