Feingold's letter to Mukasey:
Dear Attorney General Mukasey:
During the hearing on your nomination to be Attorney General and in your answers to questions submitted for the record, you repeatedly refused to answer questions related to interrogation techniques on the grounds that you had not yet been briefed on the CIAâs interrogation and detention program. I was disappointed with these responses. Familiarity with the CIA program should have been irrelevant to a legal opinion about practices such as waterboarding, which have been employed by dictatorships for generations and historically condemned by our own government.
Nonetheless, now that you have been sworn in as our nationâs Attorney General and presumably have been briefed on the program, I urge you to provide your views on its legality to Congress at the earliest possible date. As a member of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, I believe that a full and informed exchange between yourself and Congress is critically important if our intelligence activities are to be conducted consistent with our laws and Constitution and subject to appropriate congressional oversight. Such transparency would also be long overdue, given the refusal of the Department of Justice to provide to Congress any legal opinions on the program.
I oppose any interrogation techniques not authorized by the Army Field Manual, as do majorities of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. I do not believe that their use is legally or morally defensible or that it makes our nation safer. It is my hope that, under your leadership, the Department of Justice will take a fresh look at the CIAâs program, and that you will urge the President not to veto legislation that would end the use of so-called âalternative interrogation techniques.â I request that you provide current and any past Department legal analyses to Congress, and that you provide your views on the program to Congress at the earliest possible date.
Russell D. Feingold
UNITED STATES SENATOR