Interrogation Reports Further Demonstrate the Need for Comprehensive Nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry

Limited investigation by a special prosecutor will not provide a much-needed comprehensive understanding of troubling past policies

CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration today made public more portions of the 2004 CIA Inspector General report that examined the agency’s interrogation program used for suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. The newly-released information provides additional details on the now widely-discredited legal rationale used to justify harsh interrogation tactics – tactics that have since been prohibited by President Obama.

Also reported this morning is a yet-to-be released report from the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility that recommends reopening nearly a dozen cases of alleged prisoner abuse at the hands of CIA personnel and contractors. Both reports likely contributed to the news accounts this afternoon that Attorney General Holder will appoint a special prosecutor in the coming days to investigate nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened suspected terrorists held by the United States.

The following can be attributed to Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project:

“Today’s release of the CIA Inspector General report and the news that a key Justice Department office recommends reopening cases charging abuse further demonstrate the need for a full and impartial investigation into our nation’s past national security policies. News accounts this afternoon indicate the attorney general will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate some specific allegations of abuse, but an examination of a dozen cases will not bring the full scope of U.S. policies to light. A bipartisan commission is still needed to provide a comprehensive understanding of past deviations from the rule of law. Until a commission of inquiry is created, Americans will forever be looking over our shoulders, wondering what damning facts will next emerge.

“President Obama has pledged to restore the rule of law and adhere to our constitutional principles. Both steps are badly needed. But for our nation to properly move forward, and for our citizens to be able to hold our leaders accountable, we must know all of the policies that were implemented in our name. Only with a full understanding can we ensure that policies allowing abusive and illegal treatment will stay in our nation’s past.”

In April, the Constitution Project joined a coalition of 18 other advocacy organizations in a campaign to urge President Obama to appoint an independent commission to investigate the treatment of people detained since September 11, 2001 by the United States or at the direction of the United States as part of antiterrorism or counterterrorism activities.

Click here to see more on the campaign effort.

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