The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee today called for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to probe potential abuses of power under the Bush administration. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) has called upon U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to look into alleged Bush crimes. Holder has continued a rather transparent effort to block or curtail any investigation to prevent the prosecution of Bush officials for the torture and surveillance programs.
Conyers called on Holder “to appoint a special counsel to review the Bush administration abuses of power and misconduct. A criminal probe—he’s got to do that.” Conyers added that “All the breadcrumbs, as we call them, go right to the White House.”
Conyers has long struggled under limitations imposed by Democratic leadership, including reportedly Speaker Nancy Pelosi who did not want to see investigations into torture or surveillance — programs that Democrats knew about. Conyers himself has been viewed as a defender of civil liberties and privately favoring an investigation for years.
Holder needs to stop trying to find a way to game the system and control the outcome. He needs to appoint a special prosecutor without restrictions to look into criminal acts ordered by the Administration, particularly in the areas of torture and surveillance. No one expects the prosecution of low-level CIA officials. It is the mid-level and high-level officials –including President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others — who would be the most obvious targets of such an investigation.
For years, people have asked me what they can do to push for accountability for war crimes. Now, you have your opportunity. Write and call your members in the House and the Senate to demand that they publicly call for a special prosecution without limitations to investigate the torture and surveillance programs. Demand more than just a letter to you. Members need to follow Conyers and join a public effort to demand a special prosecutor. People can also press their local newspapers for editorials in support of this call for a special prosecutor.
With his speech at the National Press Club, Conyers has broken free of the reprehensible effort in Congress to cover-up possible war crimes and, in so doing, has protected his own legacy in Congress as a civil libertarian.
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