ACLU Says DOJ Investigation into CIA Interrogation Program too Narrow

June 30, 2011 3:43 pm

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NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Justice Department is launching a “full criminal investigation” into the deaths of two detainees in U.S. custody. In August 2009, Holder announced that Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham would review whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody overseas.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union:

“While we welcome the announcement that the Justice Department will conduct a full criminal investigation into the deaths of two prisoners in CIA custody, it is difficult to understand the prosecutor’s conclusion that only those two deaths warrant further investigation. For a period of several years, and with the approval of the Bush administration’s most senior officials, the CIA operated an interrogation program that subjected prisoners to unimaginable cruelty and violated both international and domestic law. The narrow investigation that Attorney General Holder announced today is not proportionate to the scale and scope of the wrongdoing.”

The following can be attributed to Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project:

“We continue to believe that the scope of Mr. Durham’s mandate was far too narrow. As Attorney General Holder’s statement makes clear, Mr. Durham was tasked principally with investigating interrogations that went beyond the bounds set by the Justice Department. However, the central problem was not with interrogators who disobeyed orders, but with senior officials who authorized a program of torture. The Justice Department must conduct an investigation that is broad enough to reach the senior officials who were most responsible for developing this program.”

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