Home » Investigative Journalism » Congress should investigate — if not, who will?

Congress should investigate — if not, who will?

[4/14/09]

{{w|Patrick Leahy}}, U.S. Senator from Vermont.Image via Wikipedia

Congress is on spring recess until April 20. They still have a few more days to hear from constituents on the subject of Bush administration accountability for misdeeds. Today’s post digests a few items on the subject that remain timely.

OLC – leaderless — Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to head the Obama administration’s Office of Legal Counsel is still on hold, emptywheel includes Johnsen’s OLC philosophy in this interesting post, as well as key senators’ phone numbers. In another revealing post, this fine blogger discusses President Obama’s signing statement that apparently weakens whistle-blower protections for federal employees who give information to Congress.

Sen. Patrick Leahy recently proposed a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate abuses during the Bush-Cheney Administration – so they never happen again. These abuses include the use of torture, extraordinary rendition, and executive override of laws. A website, BushTruthCommission.com has a way to sign his petition. So far it has accumulated 92,770 signatures. Following on the heels of Senator Leahy’s March hearing and proposal, Firedoglake‘s Christy Hardin Smith explored the question of immunity as it was laid out by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse here: “Open questions: truth commissions, accountability and immunity.” Smith concludes,

What should be done? Any number of things, but that quote from Whitehouse made me wonder if he knows something about prosecutors already looking at these issues and, if so, who and what issues? It’s likely he was just talking generally about folks at DOJ…but I’d love more details if there are any, wouldn’t you?

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse was brilliant during the Judiciary Committee hearing. Blogger emptywheel featured the Senator’s telling exchange with “Republican shill David Rivkin” regarding “the gallery of horribles that might go wrong,” using Whitehouse’s term for Rivkin’s straw man arguments. TPM Muckraker, Zachary Roth summarized Rivkin’s testimony as “GOP witness: by historical standards, Bushies’ war on terror conduct was ‘exemplary’.” Roth also reports that Republican Senators Specter and John Cornyn were predictably opposed to a “truth commission.”

Glenn Greenwald, my favorite investigative journalist, who writes at Salon.com convincingly argues that “a war-crimes fact-finding commission could uniquely enable prosecutions.” Glenn reported, on the other hand that Speaker Pelosi criticized the Truth Commission as inadequate, advocating criminal prosecutions instead.

See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.

Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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