Conyers Invites Ashcroft, Tenet, Feith, and Addington for Hearing on Use of Torture

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April 11, 2008 2:56 p.m.

It would be quite a party.

Earlier this week, House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) invited John Yoo to testify before the committee on May 6th about the infamous legal memos on torture that he issued while with the Department of Justice. If Yoo did not want to appear, Conyers wrote, then the panel would subpoena him.

Now Conyers, following up on the reports in the last couple of weeks about the role of top administration officials in authorizing the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques including waterboarding, has invited a slew of current and former officials to testify at the hearing. Among those invited are former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former CIA Director George Tenet, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, Chief of Staff to the Vice President David Addington, and former Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin, who headed up the Office of Legal Counsel for a brief time.

Says Conyers: “New and troubling allegations suggest that the decisions on torture came from the highest levels of government. These reports, if true, represent a stain on our democracy. The American people deserve to hear directly from those involved.”

Of course, you can be sure that this White House, the most ardent defender of executive privilege in our lifetime, would never, ever allow Addington, the great prophet of executive privilege, to testify under any circumstances. And it also seems unlikely that any members of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee (Tenet and Ashcroft) will testify about content of those meetings. But it’s worth a shot.

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