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Today's Torture Hearings

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June 26, 2008

The ACLU has particular interest in holding Bush administration officials’ feet to the fire when it comes to the who, why and how of the use of torture in the U.S.’s overseas detention centers. It was the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act request for information regarding the treatment of those detainees that has yielded more than 100,000 pages of documents, including the infamous Yoo torture memo.

For those of us watching the hearing, watching Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Artur Davis (D-Ala.) grill Yoo and Addington has been especially gratifying. Rep. Davis made an excellent point during his questioning: He pointed out that at the time the torture memos were authored, during the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses, the Legislative branch was busily rubber-stamping every national security request President Bush made, from the FISA expansion to the Patriot Act. “If you had come to this Congress and asked, you would’ve gotten what you wanted,” Davis said.

So why couldn’t the White House consult Congress on how to amend its interrogation policies, especially with Republican friends chairing the House and Senate Judiciary Committees?

Good question.

Spencer Ackerman is live-blogging the hearings at The Washington Independent. Check it.

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