March 5, 2009

Whitehouse Praises New Intelligence Committee Investigation Into Bush Administration Detention and Interrogation Program

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today expressed strong support for Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s announcement that the Committee will launch an investigation into the Bush Administration’s program to detain and interrogate terror suspects.

“This inquiry will be a powerful step towards correcting America’s tragic trespass into the dark side,” said Whitehouse, a former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General for Rhode Island.
“I commend Chairman Rockefeller for his leadership to date and applaud Chairman Feinstein for her continuing commitment to learning the truth, so this history will never be repeated.”

Whitehouse has been an outspoken advocate for an inquiry into misdeeds by the Bush Administration. Yesterday, he took part in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which he also serves, to discuss a proposal establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate potential wrongdoing committed in the name of counterterrorism and national security during the past eight years.

When Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) first proposed the establishment of an independent commission, Whitehouse spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of learning the truth about the past eight years. Earlier this year, Whitehouse joined Senator Feinstein and others in introducing S. 147, the Lawful Interrogation and Detention Act, to require the CIA and all other U.S. intelligence agencies to follow the Army Field Manual in interrogations, effectively banning waterboarding and other coercive interrogation techniques. Whitehouse was the principal sponsor of a similar amendment requiring the CIA and all other U.S. intelligence agencies to follow the Army Field Manual in interrogations in May 2007, as part of Intelligence Authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2008. Whitehouse has also sponsored legislation that would prohibit secret detentions by requiring International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to any detainees in custody of U.S. intelligence agencies.


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