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WASHINGTON DC – ABC News reported that in dozens of top-secret White House meetings, the most senior Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, discussed and approved specific torture techniques for use on detainees. According to this report, Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft sanctioned these tactics. In light of this revelation, the American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Congress to appoint a special counsel to investigate these charges.
Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office Caroline Fredrickson said, "If current and former administration officials broke the law, they should be prosecuted for criminal acts. No one is above the law. With each new revelation, it is beginning to look like the torture operation was managed and directed out of the White House. This is what we suspected all along. Congress must get to the bottom of these reports."
ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders said that it is time for the administration to stop blaming the front line interrogators alone for tactics it had approved: "After years of the administration pointing the finger at what it said were a few interrogators, if this story is correct, it instead looks more like there were direct orders for specific acts of torture straight from the White House. These are the tools of dictators, not leaders of a democracy."
According to the ABC story, then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions, asking aloud after one meeting: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly."
Fredrickson added, "Kudos to ABC News for being the first to report this important story."
Link to the ABC News story:
Link to ACLU letter calling for a special counsel: