06/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Patrick Leahy Pens Op-Ed: Why We Need Truth Commission

THE OBAMA administration's decision to release more Bush-era memoranda, which sought to rationalize torture, shows that President Obama is following through on his promise to ban torture and to provide transparency to our government. The Bush-Cheney administration not only broke the law, it shattered the public trust and undermined America's reputation around the world.

After withdrawing the so-called Bybee "torture memo," the Bush-Cheney administration secretly reinstated the torture policy. While repeatedly claiming that the United States did not torture, the Bush-Cheney administration secretly authorized techniques that included waterboarding - up to 183 times in one case. This was not an "abstract legal theory," or "hypothetical," as Alberto Gonzales dismissively described in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. These were specific techniques, authorized by high-ranking US government officials and used on real people. We have prosecuted people for these kinds of acts against Americans, and condemned other nations for sanctioning these methods.

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