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Senators warn against CIA abuses probe

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-20

A group of Republican US senators have warned against a possible probe into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists, saying such an investigation could have serious security implications.

AFP - A group of Republican US senators sharply warned Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday against launching a formal probe into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists.
  
"Such an investigation could have a number of serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Holder.
  
Republican Senators Jon Kyl, the party's number two in the Senate; Kit Bond, co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; and Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee were among the nine signers.
  
The lawmakers said they were "deeply concerned" by media reports that Holder was poised to name a special prosecutor to look into alleged abuses by CIA interrogators of suspected terrorists, including members of Al-Qaeda.
  
"There is little doubt that further investigations and potential prosecutions of CIA officials would chill future intelligence activities," the senators warned.
  
"The intelligence community will be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift," the senators said.
  
Holder may be close to announcing a probe focused on whether interrogators went beyond harsh techniques widely defined as torture but authorized by former president George W. Bush's administration, according to news accounts.
  
Bush's Republican allies and some Democrats have argued that rank-and-file interrogators acted in good faith and followed directives from higher ups in using techniques, like the controlled drowning known as "waterboarding" on terrorism suspects, and obtained valuable information.
  
Some former intelligence officials have challenged that claim, saying that harsh tactics elicited no better information than traditional approaches.
  
And human rights groups have called for formal investigations into charges of torture, which violates US law.
  
So far, US President Barack Obama has resisted calls from some congressional Democrats to establish a "truth and reconciliation" panel to look into alleged abuses.
  

Date created : 2009-08-20

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