Sen. Bond: Holder ‘Gave Me Assurances He’s Looking Forward’ On Torture Prosecutions

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Sen. Kit Bond told the Washington Times today that Attorney General nominee Eric Holder privately “gave me assurances he is looking forward” on the issue of prosecutions of former Bush officials who authorized torture or operatives who carried out the policy.

The paper paraphrases Bond’s remarks this way: that “Mr. Holder assured [Bond] privately that Mr. Obama’s Justice Department will not prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program.”

But Bond’s quoted remarks are not quite so clear cut:

[Bond] added, “I was concerned about previous statements he made and others had made. He gave me assurances that he would not take those steps that would cause major disruptions in our intelligence system or cause political warfare. We don’t need that kind of political warfare. He gave me assurances he is looking forward.”

Mr. Bond also said, “I believe he will look forward to keep the nation safe and not look backwards to prosecute intelligence operators who were fighting terror and kept our country safe since 9-11.”

Holder said at his confirmation hearing two weeks ago that “waterboarding is torture.” And while President Obama has voiced a preference for looking “forward as opposed to looking backwards” when it comes to potential prosecutions, Holder’s unequivocal statement on waterboarding raised the possibility that a full-scale investigation is required.

Indeed, Senate GOPers were so spooked by Holder’s statement, they held up his nomination over the issue. This morning, the Judiciary Committee approved Holder, by a vote of 17-2.

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