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On June 6, 2008, 56 Congressional Democrats and 0 (zero) Republicans signed a letter (PDF) to Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking for appointment of outside counsel to investigate whether interrogations of detainees have violated Federal law.

Text of letterEdit

Congress of the United States
Washington DC 20515
June 6, 2008

The Honorable Michael Mukasey
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20530

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

We are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to investigate whether the Bush Administration's policies regarding the interrogation of detainees have violated federal criminal laws. There is mounting evidence that the Bush Administration has sanctioned enhanced interrogation techniques against detainees under the control of the United States that warrant an investigation.

Congress is already aware of the pattern of abuse against detainees under the control of the United States and the Bush Administration. In 2004, prisoners being held at Abu Ghraib prison were subjected to abuse, sexual exploitation and torture. At the Guantanamo Bay Detention facility, prisoners have been held indefinitely, subjected to sleep deprivation, and drugged against their will. An independent investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross documented several instances of acts of torture against detainees, including soaking a prisoner's hand in alcohol and lighting it on fire, subjecting a prisoner to sexual abuse, and forcing a prisoner to eat a baseball. In October 2005, the New York Times reported that three detainees were killed duing interrogations in Afghanistan and Iraq by CIA agents or CIA contractors.

We believe that these events alone warrant action, but within the last month additional information has surfaced that suggests the fact that not only did top Administration officials meet in the White House and approve the use of enhanced techniques including waterboarding against detainees, but that President Bush was aware of, and approved of the meetings taking place. This information indicates that the Bush Administration may have systematically implemented, from the top down, detainee interrogation policies that constitute torture or otherwise violate the law. We believe tht these serious and significant revelations warrant an immediate investigation to determine whether actions taken by the President, his Cabinet, and other Administration officials are in violation of the War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441), the Anti-Torture Act, (18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A), and other U.S. and international laws.

Despite the seriousness of the evidence, the Justice Department has brought prosucution agaist only one civilian for an interrogation-related crime. Given that record, we believe that it is necessary to appoint a special counsel in order to ensure that a thorough and impartial investigation occurs, and that the prosecution of anyone who violated federal criminal statutes prohibiting toture and abuse is pursued if warranted by the facts.

Again, we strongly urge that you act in a timely manner to appoint a special counsel. We look forward to hearing from you in response to our request.

Sincerely,

Jan Schakowsky
Member of Congress

John Conyers
Chairman
House Judiciary Committee

Jerrold Nadler
Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Barney Frank
Member of Congress

Jim Oberstar
Member of Congress

Sheila Jackson Lee
Member of Congress

Carolyn Malony
Member of Congress

Peter DeFazio
Member of Congress

Ed Markey
Member of Congress

Maurice Hinchey
Member of Congress

Jim McGovern
Member of Congress

Lynn Woolsey
Member of Congress

Jim McDermott
Member of Congress

Bob Filner
Member of Congress

Tammy Baldwin
Member of Congress

Keith Ellison
Member of Congress

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress

John Olver
Member of Congress

Betty McCollum
Member of Congress

Sam Farr
Member of Congress

Jim Moran
Member of Congress

Betty Sutton
Member of Congress

Bobby Scott
Member of Congress

Dennis Kucinich
Member of Congress

Lois Capps
Member of Congress

José Serrano
Member of Congress

William Jefferson
Member of Congress

Michael Capuano
Member of Congress

Pete Stark
Member of Congress

Lucille Roybal-Allard
Member of Congress

John Tierney
Member of Congress

George Miller
Member of Congress

Luis Gutierrez
Member of Congress

Steven Rothman
Member of Congress

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

David Wu
Member of Congress

Paul Hodes
Member of Congress

Andre Carson
Member of Congress

Robert Wexler
Member of Congress

Lloyd Doggett
Member of Congress

Diana DeGette
Member of Congress

Raúl Grijalva
Member of Congress

John Larson
Member of Congress

Rick Boucher
Member of Congress

Hilda Solis
Member of Congress

Linda Sanchez
Member of Congress

Danny Davis
Member of Congress

Rosa DeLauro
Member of Congress

Mike Honda
Member of Congress

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Member of Congress

Peter Welch
Member of Congress

Tim Ryan
Member of Congress

Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

Zoe Lofgren
Member of Congress

Chaka Fattah
Member of Congress

David Price
Member of Congress

External ReferencesEdit

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