U.S. Congress members vowed on Sunday to investigate the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, despite Justice Department advice that the agency not cooperate.
The top Republican member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee and a leading Democratic voice on security joined in a blistering attack on the CIA and on the complex network of U.S. intelligence agencies in general.
Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday that would restrict the interrogation methods the CIA can use against terrorism suspects.
The legislation, part of a measure authorizing the government’s intelligence activities for 2008, had been approved a day earlier by the House and sent to the Senate for what was supposed to be final action. The bill would require the CIA to adhere to the Army’s field manual on interrogation, which bans waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to hold two men who have been top aides to President George W. Bush in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas in its probe of the firing of federal prosecutors.
On a largely party-line vote, the Democratic-led panel sent contempt of Congress citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to the full Senate for consideration.
The failed Democratic leadership of Congress caved once again Wednesday to the most unpopular President in American history, giving George W. Bush another victory while abandoning the voters who put them into power in the 2006 mid-term elections.
House Democratic leaders dropped their demands for $22 billion in domestic spending and agreed to Bush’s spending limit on a half-trillion dollar bill. While the House version does not contain funding for Bush’s failed war in Iraq, the Senate is expected to add the money and send it back to the House, where it will be accepted as part of a deal between Democrats and Bush.
Most Americans equate July with independence, fireworks and barbeques. But Congress wants Americans thinking about watermelons, too. A resolution before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would make July National Watermelon Month.
CIA Director Michael Hayden is briefing lawmakers behind closed doors about the destruction of videotapes showing harsh interrogation of terror suspects but says he can’t answer all their questions.
Hayden told reporters after testifying Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had “a chance to lay out the narrative, the history of why the tapes were destroyed” and the process that led to that decision.
The White House killed via a veto threat a tentative congressional compromise on a $520 billion government spending bill because it contained $18 billion more than President Bush wanted on domestic programs and not enough on things he did want, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden faces two days of testimony behind closed doors at the Senate and House intelligence committees to answer questions about his agency’s destruction of videotaped interrogations of terrorist suspects.
Hayden will answer questions Tuesday from the Senate panel and Wednesday from its House counterpart. Both are closed sessions.
Washington politicians scrambled Sunday to position themselves on the rapidly-developing CIA torture tape scandal. Both Republicans and Democrats doubted the CIA’s story that the tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of interrogators.
The growing scandal threatens to turn into the worst yet for the Bush Administration, a Presidency beset by scandal and questions about White House credibility.