Human Rights Watch has asked the Obama administration to launch an investigation against 21 former United States officials for their alleged misconduct in their roles regarding the torture of suspected terrorists by the CIA. These officials include former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA Director George Tenet, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, among others.
According to Human Rights Watch, the details of the CIA’s interrogation program are enough to warrant an inquiry by the Obama administration. The details of the CIA’s interrogation program were made public by a Senate committee in December of 2014.
Executive director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth said in a statement, “It’s been a year since the Senate torture report, and still the Obama administration has not opened new criminal investigations into CIA torture. Without criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned."
Former officials of the Bush administration and many Republicans have defended the actions that were taken by the CIA, saying that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not constitute torture. They also claimed that the report released by the Senate was biased in nature.
One of the masterminds behind the interrogation program James Mitchell said, “It's a bunch of hooey. Some of the things are just plain not true."
Meanwhile, the American Bar Association has also called for a new investigation. Last June, the association sent a letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying that the details revealed by the Senate report justified a closer examination.
American Bar Association President Paulette Brown said, “What we’ve asked the Justice Department to do is take a fresh look, a comprehensive look, into what has occurred to basically leave no stone unturned into investigating possible violations. And if any are found to take the appropriate action as they would in any other matter."
In 2008, then-President George W. Bush started a criminal inquiry that was designed to determine whether or not the CIA destroyed videotapes of their interrogations. Once Obama took office in 2009, the investigation was expanded to determine whether or not the CIA program involved criminal misconduct. However, the investigation was closed in 2012, and no charges were filed, based on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to convict.