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Senate Report Confirms Top-Level Officials Authorized Torture

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April 22, 2009

Late last night, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released its full report on the Department of Defense’s (DOD) role in the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody (PDF). (A summary of the report was released last December, but it was only until last night that the full report was released after the government declassified it.)

Upon releasing the report, SASC chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said:

In my judgment, the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration’s interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse — such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan — to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as that made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a “few bad apples,” were simply false.

We couldn’t agree more, and have been saying as much all along. Christopher Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel for the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said in a statement today:

This report makes frighteningly clear that some of the darkest moments in our country’s recent past were choreographed at the highest levels of government… The people who were at the very top of the Bush administration and those at the top of the chain of command must be held accountable. Just as any other American would be investigated by a prosecutor for crimes committed, so must our government officials. We must ensure that our laws are impartially enforced against everyone.

This afternoon at 4 p.m. EDT, Chris will be on Crooks & Liars talking about the SASC report, and the ACLU’s call for a congressional select committee to investigate how the torture memos released last week were authorized and written.

We’re also calling on the Justice Department to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate those who authorized these horrific acts of torture. Join us by signing the petition to hold these people accountable.

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