ACLU Applauds House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Administration Authorization of Torture

May 6, 2008 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Committee must find whether and how crimes were committed

Contact: (202) 675-2312,

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union was pleased to see the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties hold today’s hearing to examine the executive branch’s role in authorizing harsh interrogation methods. The ACLU calls on Congress to conduct a systematic, top-to-bottom investigation to explore whether crimes have been committed and how high up the authorization originated.

“This is truly a defining moment for America,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “It is well past time for Congress and the American people to know if our highest officials authorized torture and whether or not criminal laws were broken. Hopefully some of these lingering questions will be answered. Those whose presence was requested for today’s hearing but refused to show up should be subpoenaed by Congress. The American people have the right to know what happened and who is responsible.”

Americans first learned in early April that the highest-level officials in the administration met to discuss and authorize questionable interrogation methods. Within a few days, it was then disclosed that President Bush knew of the meetings and approved. The administration has so far prevented key officials from testifying before Congress. Chairman Conyers has indicated that he will pursue subpoenas.

“The Judiciary Committee should not rest until it finds out what high-level government officials did what, and whether they committed any crimes,” added Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “Recent reports raise serious questions about whether the federal War Crimes Act, Anti-Torture Act, and assault and battery laws were violated. No one has immunity and no one is above the law. The Justice Department can issue scurrilous legal opinions until the cows come home, but it does not have the power to hand out get-out-of-jail-free cards. The time is now for the Judiciary Committee to aggressively pursue subpoenas for those who failed to testify today.”

In October 2003, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records concerning the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad. While more than 100,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit, the government continues to withhold many vital records and litigation is ongoing.

The ACLU letter to the attorney general urging the appointment of a special prosecutor can be found at:

The documents received in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation are online at:

# # #

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.