Ex-Attorney General Gonzales backs CIA prison abuse probe
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been under fire in some circles for naming a special prosecutor to investigate alleged abuses of prisoners by CIA interrogators or contractors, but on Tuesday he got some unexpected support from a former Bush administration official.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who oversaw the Justice Department or was White House counsel during the period when some of the controversial interrogation techniques were authorized — such as lengthy sleep deprivation and repeated waterboarding — in a radio interview backed Holder’s decision to review the cases that went outside the limits set.
“We worked very hard to establish ground rules and parameters about how to deal with terrorists,” Gonzales said in an interview with The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show.
“And if people go beyond that, I think it is legitimate to question and examine that conduct to ensure people are held accountable for their actions, even if it’s action in prosecuting the war on terror.”
In new details released last week from a CIA inspector general report, among the most controversial interrogation methods were brandishing a gun in front of a prisoner, using a power drill to intimidate a blindfolded prisoner, and threatening to hurt their families.
Gonzales said that despite the potential “chilling effect” the probe could have on CIA officers seeking intelligence during interrogations, those who went beyond permitted interrogation techniques should be investigated.
He also said that he believed that Holder was only concerned about those who went beyond approved techniques.
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Attorney General Eric Holder)