Photo: US Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Jaclyn Belczyk, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu

Congressmen call on Mukasey to explain counterterrorism pardons comments

[JURIST] Two US congressman on Thursday sent a letter [text] to

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey [official profile; JURIST news archive],

calling on him to explain comments he made Wednesday about pardoning

US counterterrorism officials for their controversial policies.

Mukasey told reporters [NYT report] at a news conference that

he did not see a need to issue a blanket pardon because there was

no evidence that anyone who developed controversial interrogation,

eavesdropping or other controversial policies did so under the belief they were acting illegally.

Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) [official website] and

Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) [official website] wrote:
[W]e are troubled by the breadth of your statement and the blanket conclusion

that everyone involved in approving these policies believed

they were acting within the law. The public record reflects ample warning

to Administration officials that its legal approach was overreaching and invalid,

such as repeated objections by military lawyers to Department legal opinions

on interrogation issues and the stark warning by

then-Deputy Attorney General Comey that the Department would be "ashamed"

if the world learned of the legal advice it had given on torture issues. . . .

Accordingly, please explain the basis for your blanket conclusion

that all Department actors believed their conduct in counterterrorism matters was lawful.
Also Thursday, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] issued

a statement [press release] expressing its concern over Mukasey's statements

and calling for accountability for abuses committed during the "war on terror."

Mukasey has previously defended government lawyers [JURIST report] who

wrote memos on the legality of harsh interrogation techniques such

as waterboarding, emphasizing the legal complexity of the issues raised in

the memos and criticizing the vilification of the authors [JURIST op-ed].

In January testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee,

Mukasey refused to pass judgment on waterboarding, and in February,

he refused to launch an investigation [JURIST reports] into its use.

Source: Jaclyn Belczyk, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu
Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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