Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) told MSNBC's Ed Schultz that United States Attorney General Eric Holder should launch an investigation into former President Bush's authorization of waterboarding.
In his new memoir, titled Decision Points, Bush admits he personally authorized waterboarding to be used on CIA detainees. Waterboarding is an interrogation technique that simulates the feeling of drowning.
"Waterboarding has long been considered torture – a view shared by the Obama Administration – and committing or ordering torture is a severe crime under both international and U.S. laws, for which we have convicted foreigners and Americans in the past," Nadler said in a press release. "The President is bound by the Constitution to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' Failure to order a criminal investigation would be a serious dereliction of duty. With President Bush's admission, no further excuses or evasions are conscionable."
On the Ed Show Wednesday, Nadler said that although it was the duty of Holder to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's use of illegal interrogation techniques, he doubted it would happen.
"It is a smoking gun," Nadler said. "I'm dubious that he will do it because this administration unfortunately has taken the opinion, taken the attitude that they're not going to look at any criminal actions by, within the prior administration. They say 'let's look forward, not backward.' By that standard no one would be prosecuted for any crime."
Nadler said there was no evidence that waterboarding saved any American lives and that it was being used by our enemies as a recruiting tool.
He added it was shameful that the Justice Department most likely would not seek to prosecute Bush.
Nadler is not the only prominent voice calling for Bush to be prosecuted for authorizing waterboarding. The human rights group Amnesty International has also urged a trial of the former president.
"Under international law, anyone involved in torture must be brought to justice, and that does not exclude former President George W. Bush," Amnesty International's Senior Director Claudio Cordone said.
"The perversion of our laws and treaty obligations in order to support an illegal campaign of torture is a stain on the honor of our nation, and it is essential that those who committed these misdeeds be made to answer for their actions," added Nadler. "There is no legal or moral reason to insulate those who authorized or ordered the torture of detainees."