Ask Holder, Did You Pre-Cave On Torture? Sen. Bond Says Yes

Is this true Mr. Holder? Did you just commit to not prosecuting War Crimes….or is Sen. Kit Bond(R) lying about you?

From the deeply un-credible Washington Times, H/t Raw Story…

Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, a Republican from Missouri and the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview with The Washington Times that he will support Eric H. Holder Jr.’s nomination for Attorney General because Mr. Holder assured him privately that Mr. Obama’s Justice Department will not prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program.


Sen. Bond also said that Mr. Holder told him in a private meeting Tuesday that he will not strip the telecommunications companies that cooperated with the National Security Agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks of retroactive legal immunity from civil lawsuits–removing another potential sticking point among GOP senators.

In the interview Wednesday, Mr. Bond said, “I made it clear that trying to prosecute political leaders would generate a political firestorm the Obama administration doesn’t need.”

He added, “I was concerned about previous statements he made and others had made. He gave me assurances that he would not take those steps that would cause major disruptions in our intelligence system or cause political warfare. We don’t need that kind of political warfare. He gave me assurances he is looking forward.”

Is this true Mr. Holder? Did you just sell the American Justice system down the river in a backroom deal? Or is Kit Bond a liar? You owe the American people an answer. You owe us the transparency President Obama has promised.

Did you cave to Republican demands? Or are you letting Kit Bond play you and besmirch your reputation as an honest man? We need a statement.

You have stated that waterboarding is torture. Torture is a crime. Your job is to prosecute crimes, not make backroom deals to ignore them. If you did NOT make this deal, you need to shoot Kit Bonds’ lies down publicly, IF you want the American people to trust you. And IF you want the American people to trust the Department of Justice, and the American Justice System again. I would like to believe you Mr. Holder, but this is ALL too plausible, given the politics involved. Please take a few minutes out of your day to reassure us.

If you want to ask Mr. Holder this question, you can e-mail him at [email protected] Please include a link to the WaTimes story, if you do mail him.

You can ask Sen. Bond if he is lying here.


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  1. Photobucket

    Who is the honest man, you or Kit Bond?


    • Edger on January 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    One from The Washington Times and Kit Bond, today…

    Mr. Bond also said, “I believe he will look forward to keep the nation safe and not look backwards to prosecute intelligence operators who were fighting terror and kept our country safe since 9-11.”

    Mr. Holder made a similar point to senators last week in a little-noticed written response to questions from Republican senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas. Mr. Holder indicated that he would not prosecute any intelligence officers who participated in the interrogation program and who had followed Justice Department guidance.

    Prosecutorial and investigative judgments must depend on the facts and no one is above the law, Mr. Holder wrote.

    intelligence officers” – Bond makes no claim that Holder said anything to him about Bush and Cheney et al, about Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, and others at the top of the pile.

    And a few from Eric Holder January 15,  the first day of his confirmation hearings…

    Eric Holder just told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the behavior of president Bush has been illegal, and that he, Eric Holder, will uphold the rule of law.  It will be very hard to maintain those positions and not prosecute or appoint a Special Counsel to prosecute Bush’s crimes.

    Here’s roughly what was said:

    10:29 a.m.  Leahy: is “waterboarding” torture and illegal?

    Holder: yes, it is torture.

    Leahy: Can other nations legally torture Americans?

    Holder: No.

    Leahy: Can President of the United States immunize acts of torture?

    Holder: Nobody is above the law.  President has Constitutional obligation to enforce the laws.  We have laws and treaties.  The president acts most forcefully and has the greatest power when consistent with Congressional intent and directives.  The president does NOT have the power that you have indicated.

    • OPOL on January 28, 2009 at 9:42 pm
  3. entirely possible that Holder will not prosecute. But that doesn’t mean he made a back room deal. He might have agreed with Martin Lederman all along.

    But Lederman has disappointed other torture critics by making the case that Bush officials can’t be prosecuted, because they were following OLC’s formal advice.

  4. this fits into the post-partisan mode that the administration seems to be pushing.  I don’t see why we should be surprised.

    • Edger on January 28, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 Wednesday to favorably recommend Holder for the job, with only two Republican hold-outs: Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma

    Firedoglake’s emptywheel noted that during the hearing, Democratic Senators “Whitehouse and Leahy took the opportunity to scold Cornyn and Specter for trying to make Holder commit to no prosecutions for torture.”

    “We came perilously close to seeking a prosecutive commitment from an AG candidate on an issue he would have to make a decision on,” said Whitehouse, according to emptywheel’s liveblogging account.  “We don’t ask judicial candidates their position on a case, the notion that a person who is a candidate for AG should have to make a prosecutative decision before he has even read the file or before he has even been read into the program at question.

  5. has commented on the Washington Times article.

    An aide to Eric Holder rejected a report Wednesday suggesting that the Attorney General nominee had pledged not to prosecute members of the Bush administration officials who were complicit in illegal harsh interrogations or torture.

    “Eric Holder has not made any commitments about who would or would not be prosecuted,” said the aide. “He explained his position to Senator Bond as he did in the public hearing and in responses to written questions.”

    • sharon on January 29, 2009 at 6:07 am

    school started up again this week.

    fwiw, i’m with nl.  we won’t know until we know.  once he’s confirmed, time to rachet up the pressure again.

    i also feel confident that the democratic leadership is on board for prosecutions – most likely investigations that lead to prosecutions, but there are enough of them speaking up that it won’t be just the dfh crowd pushing for this.

    one more thought, could specter have given in because he knew he couldn’t win, and then set up the game so that it sounded as if holder had caved?

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