House Minority Leader John A. Boehner on Thursday chided Democrats for seeking an investigation of the Bush administration’s treatment of captured terror suspects, noting a long list of lawmakers from both parties were briefed about the use of harsh interrogation methods years ago.
“Not a word was raised at the time,” said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, adding that he has seen a partial list of Democrats and Republicans briefed on CIA interrogation techniques as far back as 2002.
“There is nothing here that should surprise them,” he said.
Mr. Boehner continued: “If you look at the effort that was undertaken by our government after 9/11 in order to make America safe and help keep America safe, it’s clear to me that it was done in a bipartisan way.
“And whether you’re talking about the terrorist surveillance programs, whether you’re talking about interrogation techniques, whether you’re talking about the Treasury program to track this money, all of this information was downloaded to congressional leaders of both parties, with no objections being raised.”
Some Democrats on Capitol Hill and liberal activists want a public inquest into the Bush administration’s treatment of detained terror suspects since President Obama last week ordered the release of Justice Department memos written between 2002 and 2005 that gave the legal green light to use harsh techniques such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation.
But several top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, were informed in closed-door briefings by the CIA about the interrogation methods being used to obtain critical intelligence in the war on terror, The Washington Times reported Thursday.
Others briefed included Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Rep. Jane Harman of California, both Democrats, and Republicans Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan.
Mr. Boehner said the release of the memos, which outlined interrogation methods in detail, had a “chilling effect” on U.S. intelligence agents. He warned that the prospects of an extended public investigation of CIA treatment of detainees threatened to undermine the U.S. fight against terrorism.
“I’m not going to allow our professionals and our allies around the world to get denigrated because they were working to keep our country safe,” he said.