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Republican congressman: I have ‘no hesitation whatsoever’ in probing Bush for torture

By John Byrne
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 8:47 EDT
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A newly elected Republican congressman said in a little-noticed interview Tuesday he’d have “no hesitation whatsoever” in beginning an investigation of the former President George W. Bush for torture.

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Dylan Rattigan show, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who also serves on the House Government Oversight Committee, said he’d be more than willing to join a torture probe.

“How far back do you think is appropriate?” Rattigan asked. “Because the one thing that’s not on this list is for instance a torture investigation.”

“Well, it may be on the list as well,” Chaffetz said. “I’m not afraid of going after the Bush administration. I wasn’t brought here by the establishment.

“When I ran for congressman in 2008 — I’m just a freshman here, George W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, and Bob Bennett, three Republicans, they campaigned against me,” Chaffetz added. “So I don’t mind going back and looking at ‘em. So I don’t have any hestitation whatsoever.”

Chaffetz’s position differs from that of the current Democratic presidential administration of Barack Obama. The civil liberties group American Civil Liberties Union has criticized Obama for not being more proactive in opening investigations into CIA practices.

“This is the remarkable thing: Other countries are reckoning with the legacy of the Bush administration’s torture program, and meanwhile the United States is not,” Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security program, told McClatchy Newspapers in August.

“That’s part of why we’re so concerned,” Jaffer added. “The Obama administration, rather than investigate the abuses of the last eight years, has increasingly become an obstacle to accountability.”

Still, there is an ongoing investigation into whether the CIA or its contractors went beyond US law when interrogating suspected terrorists.

Attorney General Eric Holder has tapped Assistant US Attorney John Durham to asked him to look into whether the CIA or contractors went beyond legal interrogation methods. That investigation is ongoing, according to NPR.

Chaffetz’s comments were first picked up by the liberal blog, ThinkProgress. A detailed (and thoughtful) investigative profile of the congressman can be read at The Washington City Paper website.

 
 
 
 
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